March 25, 2024

[Report] Mobile gaming IAP spend trends for 2024: Player motivations, churn, and more

Blog banner with an illustration of a hand holding a phone and a giant cursive Z swirling around the composition.
Jump to a section...

3 spender insights for mobile games in 2024

  1. A good, personalized offer goes a long way
  2. While social factors influence installs, they don’t necessarily influence spend
  3. Even spenders churn if a game is too “pay to win”

Get insights to capture your share of IAP wallet

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

  • Lorem ipsum
  • Lorem ipsum
  • Lorem ipsum
Get a monthly loot box of insights straight to your email!

As the mobile gaming industry evolves alongside challenging and more expensive UA, a new reality sets in with a disproportionate skew of winners and losers in competition for consumer share of IAP wallet. This change highlights the importance of understanding intricate spender behavior to drive lifetime value (LTV).

That’s why we recently published a first-of-its-kind report that dives into the modern mobile game IAP spender – why they spend, how that spend could change this year, and what factors might influence further investments. Mistplay’s 2024 Mobile Gaming Spender Report is chock-full of insights compiled from a survey of nearly 2,000 IAP spenders to equip Monetization, Product, and LiveOps teams in their initiatives to help mobile game publishers capture more share of wallet in an increasingly competitive acquisition landscape.

In this article, we cover three interesting findings about mobile game spenders to empower publishers as they plan for the year ahead. If you’re looking for more, you can always download the full report below to unlock all 30 pages of insights.

[Get the report]

Check out our CEO, Jason Heller, sharing data from the report on Singular's Growth Masterminds podcast.

About the Mobile Gaming Spender Report

Mistplay’s 2024 Mobile Gaming Spender Report comprises a thorough analysis of millions of users within the Mistplay platform as well as a survey of nearly 2,000 mobile game in-app-purchase (IAP) spenders. The findings are collected from spenders aged 18+ in the US and Canada.

Respondents are categorized by lifetime spend in mobile games and segmented into three groups in order to capture a broad range of trends and insights:

  • High-value spender: $100 USD+
  • Medium-value spender: $10–$99 USD
  • Low-value spender: <$10 USD

Respondents are also grouped into three key personas based on genres they actively spend in: 

  • Casual Candace: Spends in Match, Puzzle, and Simulation
  • Midcore Mike: Spends in Action, Shooter, RPG, and Strategy
  • Lucky Lucy: Spends in Social Casino

Get the full methodology when you download the report.

3 spender insights for mobile games in 2024

1. A good, personalized offer goes a long way 

In light of constrained budgets and a planned reduction in spend by mobile game IAP spenders, experimenting with offer types may be a viable strategic approach for publishers. This is made clear given that every one in three spenders (33%) indicate they will spend if they encounter a deal too good to pass up.

When looking for the type of offer that could yield the most results, personalization is a good approach, as nearly half of spenders (40%) say they will spend more on deals tailored to their individual preferences. These include personalized offers, like birthday deals, or promotions based on their in-game progress, play style, or purchase history.

Types of IAP offers that would influence increased spend in games

Two industry UA experts, Deniz Kekeç and Osku Mäkkylä, further emphasize the importance of personalized offers in response to our report:

“Players accept offers when they are convinced they are good for them. This is why we will hear more about the importance of personalized offers. These offers might not have to be unique to each user, but they should be based on past purchases or gaming behavior data.”

– Deniz Kekeç, Performance Marketing Manager at InnoGames

“Your payer pool is shrinking, so treat your existing user base with extra care by tailoring experiences to your audiences. Embed personalized offers and content into the player journey that treat each player like an individual.”

– Osku Mäkkylä, former Performance Marketing Manager at Rovio, now Head of UA at Benjamin

You can also put the power to personalize offers into your player’s hands to gamify the personalization. Think of how Match Masters offers a personalized bundle for players to choose desired items they want for one set price. This not only gives your players the freedom to personalize their own bundle, but also gives you more information on what type of offers will make them convert in the future based on the preferred items they select.

2. While social factors influence installs, they don’t necessarily influence spend

Community is a powerful lever at the top of the funnel for mobile spenders. In fact, 22% of spenders indicate that recommendations from family and friends are a top discovery channel, with 31% of spenders installing at least three games from a referral in the last year. According to our 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report, 23% of players ultimately rely on positive game ratings and reviews to inform their install decision.

However, social factors may lose importance further down the funnel, especially when it comes to spend, as 69% of spenders report that social factors, like competition or social pressure, don’t influence their decisions at all.

How social factors influence spending decisions for mobile game IAP spenders

While the majority of mobile spenders aren’t influenced by social factors in their spend decisions, community is an effective lever for acquisition. As UA expert Osku Mäkkylä points out, attaching social activity to rewards can help foster community in and around your mobile game to improve both engagement and UA.

“It makes sense to give rewards to players who are socially active in your game and advocate for more [players] to join in the fun. It doesn’t just motivate individual users; it helps build the community around your game.”

– Osku Mäkkylä, Head of UA at Benjamin

💡 Midcore Mike (those who spend in Action, RPG, Strategy, and Shooter titles) is more likely to be influenced by social factors due to the multiplayer nature of their preferred genres.

👀 Related reading: What players want: Play, spend, and loyalty trends for mobile gaming in 2023

3. Even spenders churn if a game is too “pay to win”

Retaining a player is a challenge – retaining a spending player is a feat even more paramount, especially considering the reduction of in-game spend on the horizon. Understanding why players and spenders might churn from a mobile game can help you tailor your engagement strategies to address these critical pain points effectively. For non-spending players and spenders alike, a skewed reliance on IAP in the gaming experience will turn players away. 

With the predominant cause for spender churn often linked to a perception of the game transitioning into a “pay-to-win” model, a closer examination of your monetization strategies can help pinpoint friction points related to IAP placement and perceived value. Experimenting with strategic adjustments to minimize these friction points is crucial for sustaining spender engagement and fostering lasting relationships with players.

Reasons a mobile game IAP spender would stop playing a game

Finding the right mix in your game’s monetization strategy is key. Just seek out the sweet spot between letting players progress freely and offering extra perks and expanded gameplay experiences through strategically placed IAP.

Part of this consideration is also your IAP pricing strategy to ensure you’re finding the right price-to-value ratio for players. In Unity’s Mobile Growth and Monetization 2023 report, the data shows that first purchases are typically $1.01–$5.00 USD, so publishers might find more success in pricing the first IAP offers to players within that range.

“[I’m] tired of spending money and not getting anywhere in the game. Games become a waste of time and money ends up getting deleted.”

– Anonymous Mid-value spender

👀 Related reading: Play and profit: A developer’s guide to in-app purchases for mobile game monetization

Get insights to capture your share of IAP wallet in Mistplay’s 2024 Mobile Gaming Spender Report

As we move forward into 2024, mobile game publishers will continue to face increased competition for player’s share of wallet and brand loyalty. With numerous games and genres vying for a limited pool of player spend, and players tightening their budgets given the current economy, publishers need to strategically position themselves to build long-term loyalty, and ultimately, scale in a sustainable manner.

Download the full report today to get the fresh insights you need to develop innovative IAP strategies for the fast-changing mobile gaming landscape of 2024 and beyond.


No items found.

Share this article

Play and earn with Mistplay

Google Apple Store icon

Power up your mobile UA

Partner with us
Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyPrivacy Center