According to the market researchers at SuperData, spending by social gamers has dropped compared to last year. Measuring average revenue per paying user (ARPPU), Superdata reports that average US social gamers spent $37.59 in April, which is about $8 less than a year ago when they spent $45.58. While this drop may seem small in terms of dollars spent per user, consider that amount spread across thousands of social gamers, and it starts to make sense. Any business losing almost 18 percent of revenue has cause for concern, and a North American market worth an expected $1.8 billion in 2012 might have more concern than most.

Of course, not all is doomed, according to Janelle Benjamin, SuperData’s vice-president of research. Even though we see an overall decline in revenue per user, more social gamers are becoming paying users. According to the data, 2.5 percent of social gamers have converted to paying users, up from 1.4 percent last year.

“Mid-core social games are clearly driving the current momentum,” said Benjamin. “This emerging genre represents a different gaming demographic that spends substantially more.” She notes that while spending on farming games has declined recently, strategy and combat games are showing more than three times as much income per paying user.

SuperData provides market intelligence on online and free-to-play social games to a variety of customers and media outlets.