(Screen) size does matter: consumers are spending more time on larger devices
Screen sizes on Android phones have increased by a significant amount over the last few years. The first Android phone, the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1, had a 3.2-inch display. We’ve seen the average screen size constantly increase in the following few years. In 2011, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note with a 5.3-inch 16:10 display that seemed gigantic at the time. Now, even budget smartphones have 5.5-inch displays.
The average screen size of smartphones has increased from 3.2-inch all the way to 5.5-inch devices. In 2017, device makers started to adopt the taller 18:9 aspect ratio with 5.7-inch and 6-inch 18:9 displays. Now, we are starting to see 6-inch 18:9 displays become the new standard in flagships as well as in the mid-range price segments, as they have more screen area than 5.5-inch 16:9 displays.
Opinions continue to remain divided on whether bigger displays are better than smaller displays. In the last few years, however, sales of smartphones with big displays (once termed as “phablets”) have increased exponentially. Now, few phones have a screen size of less than 5-inches, with the Sony Xperia Compact lineup being one of the notable phone series to come with smaller displays.
Up until now, the impact of bigger smartphone displays on mobile data use and minutes hadn’t been quantified. Now, AppOptix (a division of Strategy Analytics) has monitored 4,000 Android users and released two infographics on their findings. The data shows that users with 5.5″+ screen sizes use more data and minutes than those users who have phones with smaller displays.
The AppOptix data shows that 5.0-5.5″ screens and 5.5″+ screens are using much more mobile data when compared with 4.5-5.0″ smartphone screens. The infographic shows that users with 5.5″+ screens have 141 daily sessions and they use their phone for 261.36 minutes per day. They also use 840MB of cellular data per day.
On the other hand, users with 4.5-5.0″ screens had 127 daily sessions and they use their phone for 242 minutes per day. They use less mobile data at 637MB data usage.
This data indicates that large screen devices are responsible for driving up the rising consumption of data, minutes, and sessions. It makes sense. Larger displays naturally lend themselves to higher media consumption. In fact, it is unquestionably true that a larger (5.5″+) display is better for productivity as well. With smaller bezels and 18:9 displays, the disadvantages of bigger displays are gradually being reduced, which is good to see.
The other findings from AppOptix’s infographic are that US individuals apparently use their phones for 4 hours a day, consume 743MB of data (Wi-Fi + mobile data) and have 131 app sessions. Users typically spend most of their time on social apps, followed by communication, games, and browsing.
The findings in the study are restricted to US consumers, although their gist can be applied worldwide. Consumers have spoken, and they want bigger displays with small bezels. It’s here where device makers have run into issues as they attempt to reduce bezels at all costs, as this leads to the start of the discussion about the controversial display notch.