Feature Article

October 30, 2014

If Smartphones are Content Consumption Devices, Screen Size Should Matter - and it Does

When it comes to application use, size matters. Screen size, that is.

A new study by Mobidia shows that larger smartphone screen sizes strongly correlate with increased app minutes of usage. The tipping point seems to come at screen diagonals of about five inches.

The value of the larger screen seems to vary with media type. Larger screens are correlated with higher data consumption for, streaming video and social networking apps.

The correlation is less strong for text-anchored apps such as WhatsApp or WeChat. Somewhat surprising is the finding that screen size and consumption for mobile games is positive, but more along the lines of a social messaging app than video or other social networking apps.         

Screens featuring higher resolution also produce higher data consumption, but resolution is less important than physical screen size as an indicator of higher data use, Mobidia says.

There is also a strong and significant correlation between the average minutes of use and the physical screen size of a smartphone.

Apple iPhone mobile app revenue generated per active iPhone is more than four times as much as Android, despite historically smaller iPhone screen sizes than Android flagship competitors. In Q2 2014, 80 percent of smartphone models launched had screens over 4.5 inches, larger than any iPhone for sale at the time.

The report is based on data from smartphone users in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

The correlation between screen size and time spent or data consumed makes sense if you assume smartphones have become media consumption devices. Traditionally, the assumption has been that consumers prefer to use the largest screen available when consuming video, for example. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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