Gaming has surpassed checking email as the second most frequent activity on a tablet

Ok these stats are from America – and we in the UK are more than a little behind them. But it shows a very interesting pattern developing – which like most mobile marketing patterns (doesnt change too much as it comes over the ocean)

What the USA mobile marketing peeps have found is like much like consumers of video content, gamers are flocking to tablets to take advantage of the devices’ blend of portability and relatively large screens.

On average, tablet gamers downloaded 22 games over the past year, according to a study of US internet users conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates for gaming company PlayFirst. And gaming was the second most popular overall activity on a tablet, behind only accessing the web, the study found.

Tablet Content Activities of US Tablet Users, March 2012 (% of respondents)

Tablet gamers were not just scouring app stores for freebies, either—about one-third of the games they downloaded were paid for, underscoring consumer willingness to fork over cash for titles deemed worth their time and effort. Respondents using tablets also said they had more often paid for games than for any other type of content.

Gaming was a significantly less popular activity on smartphones, the study found. Part of this divide was thought to be due to the fundamentally different way consumers use smartphones, and some of it was attributed to smartphones’ smaller screens.

Mobile Content Activities of US Smartphone Users, March 2012 (% of respondents)

Smartphone gamers not only downloaded a smaller average number of games over the past year than their tablet-using counterparts, they also were less inclined to pay for them. While gamers downloaded an average of 13 games over the past year—an increase of 30% over the previous 12-month period—they paid for only two of them.

But the study also saw potential for the monetization of gaming content beyond the games’ initial purchase. Tablet users spent an average of $62 on in-game virtual goods, while smartphone gamers spent an average of $25. In the aggregate, those figures can add up to a tidy sum; eMarketer estimates that there will be 94.6 million mobile gamers in the US by the end of the year, rising to 138.3 million by 2015.

 
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