Mobile Games Not As Popular With Millennials, Compared With Other Smartphone Users

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At the SourceDigital13 conference this morning, Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf offered a look into how mobile users on iOS are spending their time in apps, as well as the differences between men and women’s app usage, and trends particular to advertisers’ favorite demographic (those aged 25 to 34), the latter which led to some surprises.

Flurry, whose analytics offering for mobile developers has allowed the company to gain broad insight into mobile user behaviors, has seen its network grow to over 300,000 apps and three billion app sessions per day over the past five-plus years, says Khalaf, which allows it to track trends across more than a billion mobile consumers worldwide.

During the month of May 2013, the company took a random sample of its data to gain insight in a number of areas, one being a look at what time of day apps are used the most. Flurry found that app usage steadily grows over the course of the day, and peaks in the evening – something that again the company positioned against TV viewing behavior, noting that TV viewing peaks strongly in the evening, while apps are used all day.

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The company had previously said in December that the time spent in mobile apps was starting to challenge television, for example, but today notes that for ad-buying purposes, there’s more to consider than just total hours spent. Ad spend in apps can be effectively spread throughout the day, Khalaf says, because consumers are on their mobiles consistently, despite the evening peak.

Though the above usage data is fairly common sense, a deeper look into trends among the highly-desired young adult (25-34) demographic led to a few surprises.

Probably the biggest finding is that this group under-indexes on mobile games, as compared with the rest of the mobile population.

“Given the popularity of game apps you might expect that Millennials drive that usage,” explains Khalaf, “but in fact they under-index for game app usage. It turns out that it’s the middle-aged Gen X-ers who grew up with gaming consoles who are over indexing on games.”

Go figure.

This group also under-indexed on time spent in Utilities and News, while over-indexing in Sports, Health and Fitness, Music, Media and Entertainment, Lifestyle and Shopping. In other words, they have a healthy appetite for apps and content in general, just oddly not as much for mobile games. (That’s not to say that games aren’t popular with this group, they’re just less so than other categories compared with other demographics.)

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In particular, it’s females ages 25 to 34 who dramatically over-index in the Sports, Health and Fitness category, spending over 200 percent more time in these apps than the rest of the population because of what appears to be a greater interest in self-improvement (or at least, using apps to help them with that goal). They also – stereotypically – turn towards Lifestyle and Shopping apps more so than men, where they spend 75 percent more time than the rest of the population.

Males, meanwhile, over-index in Music, Media and Entertainment, as well as Social and Photo-Sharing, while under-indexing in News & Magazines.

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Image credits: charts – Flurry; iPhone - Hello

Update: clarified headline, which could have confused some into thinking games are not popular.