Chinese consumers are forecast to spend $3 billion on mobile games this year, putting it on a par with the US, according to research by mobile intelligence firms Superdata and TalkingData.
The US market is predicted to be worth $3.2 billion in 2014, but could soon be overtaken by China due to its slower spending growth as market saturation takes its toll.
Illustrating the difference in the speeds of growth, mobile game spending in China was $1.4 billion in 2013, compared to $3.0 billion in the US.
In terms of audience, the US is on course to have 242 million monthly active users (MAUs) in 2014, compared with China’s 266 million. In 2013, the US had 237 million MAUs compared to 182 million in China.
The US market appears to be becoming saturated with fewer new spenders entering the market, causing conversion rates to decline.
Conversion rates in the US were 5.2 per in the first quarter of 2013 but had fallen to 5.0 per cent in Q1 2014. China meanwhile saw conversion rates rise from 2.4 per cent to 2.9 per cent.
In addition, average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) in the US increased by 11 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter to reach $21.60. Although already higher in dollar terms than a year ago, China saw a 21 per cent growth in ARPU over the same period, reaching $32.46.
While mobile game marketing costs in China more than doubled in January 2014, mobile game average revenue per user (ARPU) kept pace. In contrast, cost per install grew 36 per cent in the US, while ARPU was relatively flat.