smartphone_gamingNearly 8 in 10 U.S. consumers (78%) use smartphones to play video games, recent digital gaming research results revealed. Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) use tablets to read ebooks, according to a market research survey from PayPal and SuperData Research.

Tablets ranked second and laptops ranked third (59% and 49%, respectively), when it comes to the most popular mobile devices U.S. consumers use when engaged in online video gaming, according to the Digital Goods Economy Survey, which covers data, developments and trends in mobile commerce across 10 countries.

SuperData’s digital gaming research pegs the value of the mobile gaming market at an estimated $37.6 billion for 2016. That represents just under half (49%) of its $77.3 billion 2016 estimate for the global gaming market overall.

More than a quarter (28%) of the 4.9 billion payments PayPal processed in 2015 originated from mobile devices, according to the company. There are 192 million active PayPal customer accounts spanning 56 currencies in more than 202 countries.

Research Key Findings
Other key takeaways the market research partners highlight include:

  • Ease of use and convenience drive payment method selection: An overwhelming majority of U.S. respondents cited “ease of use” for why they preferred their most-used payment method across eBooks (80 percent) and mobile gaming (82 percent). Processing payments quickly was also noted as a strong consideration for eBook and online gaming purchases. PayPal was cited as the payment method used the most in the last three months by U.S. respondents to purchase digital video game downloads or in-game content for their PC/Mac or laptop.
  • Americans prefer multi-use devices versus eReaders: Sixty percent of U.S. respondents read eBooks on their tablets, and 66 percent siad they purchase eBooks because they are cheaper than buying a hard copy and they can read content right away. With 42 percent saying that they buy/download an eBook immediately after becoming interested in it for the first time, there is a captive audience of impulse eBook buyers that merchants can cater to with a simple and secure checkout process so their customers can instantly dive into the book.
  • Console gaming is the greatest time commitment across digital gaming and eBooks: Forty percent of respondents play their console video games one to two hours for each session, with 34 percent playing for two to four hours. This was greater than the time spent on PC/Mac or laptop games, mobile video games and eBooks. The 30 minute to one-hour range was the highest for both eBooks (38 percent) and mobile games (31 percent).
  • Console gaming session length highlights an opportunity for relevant in-game ads/branded content as the audience is making a longer time commitment per session and thus third-party content is less disruptive. Additionally, for mobile games and eBooks, creating shorter marketing content to fill the desired time window will resonate with consumers looking to spend less time consuming content.

PayPal and SuperData also delve into digital piracy. When asked their view regarding piracy, respondents pointed out the desire not to harm content creators, such as game developers and authors, as a key consideration. One third said piracy hurts authors and publishers. That compared to just 11% who stated that piracy was acceptable if an eBook is too expensive.

Responses associated with console games elicited a stronger response: 31% stated that piracy hurts game developers, while only 7% stated that piracy was acceptable if a video game is too expensive. Digital goods merchants can deter digital goods pirates by distributing messages highlighting how piracy damages content creators financially, according to a press release about the digital gaming research.

Image courtesy of flickr user Matteo Garza.

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