The 'Wordle' Craze Is Largely Driven by Millennials

Roughly 1 in 5 millennials say they are playing the online word puzzle game, according to a new survey
January 20, 2022 at 12:01 am UTC

If you’ve been on Twitter or Facebook lately, you’ve probably seen your friends sharing those green, gray and yellow boxes, flexing that they solved the day’s "Wordle" puzzle in six tries or fewer. 

The game has proven addictive among a range of demographics (14 percent of U.S. adults said they’re playing it), and millennials most of all, according to new Morning Consult polling. While the free-to-play word game is a real phenomenon, it still has room to grow a lot more in order to match the popularity of other mobile games.

Millennials Are Driving Interest in 'Wordle'

Respondents were asked if they play the online puzzle game
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Poll conducted Jan. 12-14, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,210 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

What the numbers say

  • Fourteen percent of Americans said they play “Wordle.” (As of earlier this month, it reportedly had about 300,000 daily players, according to The New York Times.) The game has taken social media by storm since its October debut, thanks in part to coverage from major media outlets and players posting their scores on Facebook and Twitter. In comparison, 52 percent of adults said they play “Candy Crush” and 37 percent play “Words With Friends.”
  • Millennials are driving the most interest in the game. Twenty-six percent of respondents in the generation said they play “Wordle,” compared to 18 percent of Gen Zers and 9 percent of Gen Xers. Just 5 percent of baby boomers are playing the game. 
  • Social media is the main force behind “Wordle’s” popularity, as 43 percent of respondents who had heard of the game said they first heard about it on social media. Twenty-one percent said they first learned about it after hearing recommendations from family and friends, while 12 percent said they heard about “Wordle” from the news. 
  • Much of why the game’s gone viral is because it enables players to show off their scores on social media: Fifty-nine percent of adults, and 73 percent of millennials, said they share their score on social media “often” or “sometimes.” “Wordle” installed a built-in sharing feature in December after the game’s creator, Josh Wardle, noticed players coming up with their own emoji-based method of sharing results.
  • “Wordle” players are quite good at the game — or at least that’s what they say. Seventy-four percent of players said they successfully solve the puzzle either “always” or “sometimes.” Meanwhile, 17 percent said they solve it “rarely” and only 9 percent said they “never” complete the puzzle.

The impact 

“Wordle” might seem like the most popular game in the United States right now, if you judge solely from social media posts. But polling data shows that the new game has a ways to go before it reaches the status of other mobile games, such as “Candy Crush” and “Words With Friends.” 

But the inherently shareable nature of “Wordle” could help its user base grow as current players share their stats online, enticing friends and followers to check it out. Wardle has said he’s not interested in monetizing the game, but if its popularity continues to grow, he might have second thoughts.   

The Jan. 12-14, 2022 poll was conducted among a representative sample of 2,210 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Sarah Shevenock previously worked at Morning Consult as a reporter covering the business of entertainment.

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