Consumers Drawn To Bigger Mobile Screens
When it comes to smartphone screens, bigger is better from consumers' standpoint, a new study finds. Mobile users are willing to give up extra room in their pockets and handbags for a better media experience on their handsets, according to market research firm NPD Group.
The U.S. market share for iPhones and other smartphones with screen sizes between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches has remained steady, but smartphones with the largest screens (4 inches or larger) have grabbed share from devices with screens less than 3.5 inches.
Smartphones with 4-inch or larger screens -- such as Samsung's Galaxy S, HTC's EVO 4G and Motorola's Droid X, debuting in the second quarter of 2010 -- grew rapidly to account for 24% of the market by year's end.
By comparison, the share of smartphones with screen sizes between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches increased just 2% from the fourth quarter of 2009.
For phones with screens under 3.5 inches, market share contracted to 36% of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2010 from 63% in the year-earlier period.
"The explosion in Web and video content available for smartphones has caused consumers to rethink their phones' sizes," stated Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. "Larger displays offer a richer media experience, as well as a roomier surface for on-screen keyboards."
He also noted that handset vendors are continuing to expand screen real estate to complement the improved video capabilities of 4G handsets. That should be welcome news to content providers and display advertisers on mobile phones.
More than one-third of both iPhone and Android users watch mobile video, according to data presented last month by Jerry Rocha, head of mobile media network solutions at Nielsen. Overall, roughly 10% of the 229 million U.S. mobile users ages 13 and over watched video as of the second quarter of 2010, the research firm reported in December.
Demand for bigger screens isn't just a guy thing, either. Men still make up the largest share of larger-screen smartphone buyers, but women are catching up-accounting for 40% of sales at the end of 2010, up from 30% at mid-year. NPD's findings are based on data collected from mobile phone owners ages 18 and over.