The data in this article was featured on Mobile Marketing Magazine.
In the last two years, the most popular screen size for smartphones has increased from 4”- 4.5” to 5”- 5.5” according to tracking data from 51Degrees.
In May 2013, less than 25% of web browsing was coming from phones that had a screen size of 5” to 5.5”. This has grown rapidly since that date with more than 50% of all global smartphone web browsing now taking place on a screen size larger than 5”. In the same timeframe, the volume of web browsing coming from smartphones with a screen size smaller than 3.5” has dropped from 30% to less than 10%.
Why is this? The first reason is availability. Back in early 2013, phones with a 4.5” screen size, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020, the Samsung S3 and the HTC One were some of the most popular models available. The shift to 5” screens began around April 2013, with the Samsung Galaxy S4 being launched, followed a year later by the HTC One M8 in March 2014. In fact March 2014 is also significant for another reason – it was during this month that web browsing from 5” and larger screens overtook 4” to 4.5” screens.
In the US this shift happened earlier, at the end of 2013. One country that bucked this trend was India. Here devices with a screen size of 4”- 4.5” are still the most popular; the larger screen formats still have some way to go to catch up. This may be skewed by the popularity of brand such as Micromax and Karbonn in the country.
This is not to say that a larger screen size is universally more popular over time. Despite the availability of a number of 6” screen ‘phablets' from brands such as Nokia, Sony, Samsung and Asus, web browsing from smartphones with a screen size of more than 6” remains steadfastly low around the globe. 6” screen or larger accounts for less than 5% of smartphone browsing, with very little growth over the last two years.
The lack of 6” screen usage argues that functionality is ultimately key. Although OLED, high definition screens may sound appealing, in the long run, if you cannot hold the device in one hand, everyday use becomes a task in itself.