The MENA region scores 26,200 app downloads per minute | Pocket

The MENA Gaming Landscape: Increased App Store Spending and Downloads

The mobile gaming industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region experienced significant growth in 2022, as app store spending rose by 10.3% to reach $3.1 billion, according to’s State of Mobile MENA 2023 report.

This growth was accompanied by a 3% increase in daily time spent on mobile devices, reaching an average of 4.5%. Additionally, new downloads skyrocketed by 45.7% to reach 13.8 billion, equivalent to an average of 26,200 apps downloaded per minute.

User Engagement in Saudi Arabia

Among the key mobile-first markets in the MENA region, users in Saudi Arabia demonstrated the highest level of engagement, spending an average of 5.5 hours per day on their phones. This surpassed the average of 4.5 hours per day for users in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Over the past four years, in-app time spent in Saudi Arabia has grown by an impressive 74%.

However, when considering the wider Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) region, Saudi Arabia was outshined in terms of hours spent gaming. Pakistan ranked sixth globally in terms of time spent gaming, with a total of 161.2 billion hours, while Saudi Arabia only accumulated 27.4 million hours and ranked 28th on the list.

Pakistan also experienced substantial growth in terms of downloads, with a 35% year-on-year increase to reach 3.5 billion downloads. Saudi Arabia followed at 1.7 billion downloads, and Algeria came in third with 1.1 billion downloads.

Gaming Trends and Genres in the MENA Region

Consumer Spending and Downloads

The GCC market, consisting of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, witnessed a 15% decline in consumer spend on gaming, reaching $904 million. This decline reflects the global trend in the mobile gaming industry following the pandemic. Downloads in the region also dropped by 2% to one billion.

Popular Game Genres

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hypercasual genre dominated the MENA region, with a staggering 2.6 billion downloads representing 31% of all downloads. The simulation genre followed at 18%, with 1.5 billion downloads. Only the action genre exceeded 10% of downloads, accounting for 11%.

Consumer Spending by Genre

The strategy genre proved to be the most profitable in the region, generating $399.2 million in in-app spending, which accounted for 21% of the total. The shooting genre ranked second, accumulating $280.4 million.

Popular Games in the MENA Region

Subway Surfers emerged as a particularly successful game in terms of installs, topping the download charts in seven countries and ranking second in two more. On the other hand, PUBG Mobile excelled in terms of monthly active users (MAU) and consumer spending, securing first place in six markets and eight countries, respectively.

Last month, also reported that 98% of all app store spend comes from one-time purchases.