Gaming has achieved escape velocity in India over the past 18 months owing to the increased smartphone usage and pandemic-induced lockdowns. Mobile gaming witnessed a 70% growth in unique users from July 2020 to April 2021, as per InMobi’s 2021 Women Mobile Gaming Report. The report finds that 49% women started playing mobile games due to the pandemic, based on a survey run on InMobi Pulse, the leading mobile consumer intelligence platform. InMobi surveyed 240 women smartphone gamers and analyzed over 1.5 trillion programmatic ad requests for this study. The study also includes engagement data between Jan 2021 to Apr 2021 from VTION, a Digital Consumer Behaviour & Analytics company. The VTION panel for this study comprised of 1419 smartphone gamers across 15 states in India.
Indian developers in the gaming sector are seeing a popularity surge as ‘Made in India’ games or platforms such as Ludo King, Winso, MPL, mGamer, and Carrom Pool Disc Game continue to drive strong engagement.
Commenting on the rise in women mobile gamers across India, Vasuta Agarwal, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, InMobi said, “It is definitely a good time to let go of archaic notions that gaming is popular only among young adult males. The shift in behavior is so interesting to observe as women take to gaming with great enthusiasm. Gaming has become increasingly popular among women of all ages and marital status, defying old-school conventions. Nearly 52% of India’s women gamers live in metros, while 29% live in small towns, clearly becoming the new face of entertainment for women across India.”
Understanding women mobile gamers
When broken down by category, women gamers recorded an average of 88 minutes playing action-inclined games, followed by 56 minutes playing strategy-inclined games. While 25% of these women gamers fit within the age group of 25-34 years, 32% of the users are married with children, and 47% of them are unmarried.
With increased diversity in India, each region showcased its own nuanced behavior and consumer preferences. The report concluded that the top five women mobile gaming epicenters in India were Delhi NCR, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, and Andhra & Telangana. Interestingly, West India showed 25.3% share of downloads holding the largest share of game downloads in Q1 2021. The top five apps with most downloads in this region were Ludo King, Garena Free Fire: 3volution, Candy Crush Saga, WinZo, and PUBG. Following the West region, In Q1 2021, East India showed 20.4% share of downloads, North and Central India, 21.3%, and South India, 16.2%.
India is the Land of the Committed Women Mobile Gamer
Three types of gamers were observed in this pandemic which included – committed gamers, regular gamers, and occasional gamers. Committed gamers, accounting for 77% of all women mobile gamers, play once to several times a day while regular gamers play at least once a week and occasional gamers play once a month or less. Within these committed women gamers, the study recorded a 38% increase in time spent and a 33% increase in the variety of games played in 2020.
The committed gamers relied primarily on advertisements in gaming apps to discover new games while app store recommendations and advertisements on other apps also played a significant role. On the other hand, 41% of regular and occasional women gamers were likely to rely on ads on other apps as they were interested in playing games that already enjoy a certain amount of popularity.
Strong Preference to Advertisements in Gaming
Women gamers in the country were familiar with advertisements in the gaming environment with 79% of them preferring to watch an ad to progress in a game or gain benefits. Almost 55% women mobile gamers confirmed their ability to recall the ads that they saw in mobile games as the ads were either engaging and interactive, related to a topic of interest, or about a relevant brand or product.
“The ecosystem is well positioned to help brands tap into this critical segment of Women Mobile Gamers. Categories such as CPG, Healthcare, and Home Appliances, who have women as their primary TG can truly benefit by taking cognisance of these shifts in women behaviour patterns and leverage the innovative means of capturing attention through gaming apps. Be it programmatic gaming media buying at scale, gamified integration of brand messages / offerings, or reward mechanisms, the core audience of most brands are now steadily proving to be gaming-friendly,” concluded Manoj Dawane, Founder and CEO of VTION.