Southeast Asia is home to around 259 million mobile gamers. To describe their behavior through a pandemic-ridden year and a half, InMobi, a Bangalore-headquartered mobile advertising company, released a report about the region’s gamers.

  In particular, the appetite for games in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest market, presents major opportunities for advertisers to secure the attention of an engaged audience, according to Rishi Bedi, InMobi’s general manager and vice president of Southeast Asia, Japan, and Korea.

  Drawing data from InMobi’s marketing cloud and audience intelligence platform between January 2020 and January 2021, as well as a survey of more than 1,000 Indonesian smartphone users in February 2021, here are six key points about gamers from InMobi’s 2021 Southeast Asia mobile gaming report.

  Mobile game usage logged triple growth in Southeast Asia during initial lockdowns in April 2020. This led to a long-term behavioral shift that is still ingrained today, leading to 100% year-on-year growth in gaming usage in January 2021.

  Video games are often associated with male players, but InMobi found that 43% of mobile gamers in Southeast Asia are female. The 25–44 age bracket has a higher overall percentage of “committed gamers.”

  About 46% of Indonesians explored mobile gaming for the first time during the height of the pandemic to seek entertainment, relaxation, or even make new friends. This new habit doubled the number of mobile gamers in the country, and game app usage quadrupled between January 2020 and January 2021.

  Based on InMobi’s survey, 83% of Indonesian smartphone users are “committed gamers” who open video game apps between one and several times each day, 10% play games once a week, and the remaining 7% are occasional gamers who play once a month. In all, 46% download new games more than once a week.

  More than half of the respondents (54%) have installed three gaming apps on their phones, 25% have four to six games, and 21% say they have more than seven gaming apps on their devices. On average, Indonesians play for 11–30 minutes in one sitting. Before the lockdown period, noon to 7:00 p.m. were the peak hours. However, during and after lockdowns, gameplay declined in the early afternoon and then picked up again after 4:00 p.m.

  Only 22% of Southeast Asia’s gamers are paying players; the rest prefer to watch ads to unlock features. Moreover, 62% say they can recall the ads they watched because they aligned with their interests and led to in-game rewards. The top industries that advertise through gaming apps are e-commerce, retail, electronics, travel, and automotive.

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