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Liftoff: Android is making gains on iOS in gaming

Games played on Apple devices saw a steep decline in engagement compared to Android during the year ended May 31, according to a report by mobile app marketer Liftoff and mobile attribution firm AppsFlyer.

The report said players are spending tons of money on both iOS and Android, but marketers who focus only on one face tradeoffs. Android has a huge reach, with a presence in about 85% of the global smartphone market, according to market researcher IDC. But Apple’s iOS generates the most revenue. Still, iOS is losing some steam and market share in Europe, Japan, and China. It only costs $3.21 to acquire an Android user, compared to $4.85 for iOS.

The cost to acquire an Android user who makes an in-app purchase is up 9.9% to $33.83, compared to the previous year. This may be in the same range of the cost to acquire an iOS user ($36.63), but a review of the install-to-in-app purchase rate tells a different story.

The conversion rate for Android users has dipped into the single-digits (9.5%). But the steep decline in rates for iOS users (13.2% from 21.0% the previous year) signals the start of a downward trend that could topple strategies that focus exclusively on winning big-spender iOS users, the report said. The report goes on to predict that 2020 could be the year of Android gaming.

The new report also sees a golden age of mobile gaming in Asia Pacific, with a 190.7% boost in install-to-in-app-purchase rates compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, Asia Pacific user acquisition costs have plummeted by nearly half, down to $41.87 from last year’s $71.02.

North America’s robust market makes gamers tougher to nab: IAP rates are down, and costs to acquire a purchasing user have swelled 70% compared to a year ago.

At 32.7%, the day-one retention for hypercasual gaming is the highest of all sub-categories. CPIs can be more than 10 times cheaper for hypercasual gaming than other game genres.

The report analyzed over 107 billion ad impressions, nearly 82 million installs, and 14 million first in-app purchases from 555 gaming apps between June 2018 and May 2019.

In last year’s annual report, Liftoff found that iOS dominated the platform wars, with Android gearing up as a contender. This year, that prediction comes true, with the data suggesting that 2020 will be the year of Android gaming.

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