Mobile device screen size is strongly and positively correlated with mobile app usage, according to new market research in which mobile usage data provider Mobidia and IHS Technology delve into “the impact of smartphone screen size and resolution on social, chat, game and video smartphone apps engagement and data consumption.”
There has been a trend toward larger screen sizes among smartphone original equipment manufacturers in recent years. “In effect, many entry level smartphones now have larger screens than the flagship smartphones of 2010,” the market researchers highlight in a press release. According to Mobidia and IHS Technology, a screen size of around 5 inches marks the “tipping point” for mobile devices and increased mobile app usage.
Among the two dominant smartphone platform providers, until this year Apple has lagged Android OEMs in churning out smartphones with larger screen sizes. Nonetheless, mobile app usage among active iPhones is over four times that of Android smartphones, according to Mobidia-IHS Technology’s findings.
In 2Q 2014, 80 percent of new smartphone models had screens over 4.5 inches, larger than any iPhone on that the time. Seventeen percent of new smartphones had screen size of 5.5 inches or more.
The market researchers found that screen size has a greater correlation with mobile app usage than high-end application processors, graphics and chipsets. “Sony’s high powered Xperia Z1 delivered similar usage patterns to Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Mini, which has a more modest chipset,” they noted.
Smartphone Data Usage
Mobile device screen size is also associated with higher data consumption than screen resolution. Moreover, there’s a stronger link between streaming video and social networking apps and increased mobile data consumption than there is for chat apps, such as WhatsApp and WeChat, or mobile games.
The market researchers recommend that operators pair large screen smartphone models with larger data tariffs to drive up data consumption. Mobile video providers, for their part, “should tune their picture quality services to the physical size of smartphone screens and not their pixel resolution to maximize engagement.”
The trend toward mobile devices with larger screen sizes should benefit advertisers, as “adoption of large-screen smartphones…leads to more minutes of app usage and hence more advertising views, clicks, and higher mobile advertising revenues.”