Card pack spending for digital card games

As free-to-play games have grown in popularity, digital trading card games have exploded. These games typically offer free starter packs to play with and may even allow players to earn additional card packs by meeting in-game milestones or progression. Blizzard’s Hearthstone dominates the market, with over 30 million players worldwide and earning more than $20M monthly. But Hearthstone is not the only game in town; there are a number of other digital trading card games available, from those that have their origins as a more traditional tabletop card game (Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon,Yu-Gi-Oh!) to new games developed specifically for digital platforms (Solforge, Hex: Shards of Fate, Might and Magic: Duel of Champions). We asked 400 US Trading Card Gamers “How much money do you spend per year on card packs for your favorite digital collectible card game?”

In the previous 12 months, CCG players spent an average of $39 per person on card packs. However, nearly 60% of these gamers did not purchase any packs; for those that do spend money, the average spend per player jumps to over $90.

As is typical in free-to-play spending, the highest spending “whales” account for most of the total revenue. The top 12% of card pack purchasers (spent $250 or more per year) accounted for 50% of the total spending on digital card packs. About 2/3 of trading card gamers spent $10 or less and make up about 2% of total spending.

The majority of spending comes within two distinct spending patterns. The aforementioned “whales”–those spending more than $250 per year– make up roughly 50% of total spending, but only account for about 5% of all trading card gamers. There is a larger group–about 20% of all trading card gamers–that spends a more modest $25-$100 per year. This group accounts for about 1/3 of total spending.

Some interesting notes:

  • Male trading card gamers were more likely to purchase card packs: 50% of male gamers made a purchase compared to just 31% of female trading card gamers. However, the average amount spent by those that made purchases was about the same for both males ($92) and females ($90).
  • Average spending tended to be higher among younger trading card gamers, with a slight uptick for gamers 25-34. Trading card gamers 45 and over spent considerably less than other gamers.