Smartphone Streaming On The Rise

Apple may have a smaller-screen iPhone coming soon, but the trend — based on the amount of people using their phones for video streaming — will likely continue toward larger screens. 

According to new research from The NPD Group, more than 80% of all U.S. smartphone users stream video on their devices.

As that trend continues, the desire for larger screens offering better video quality will also likely increase, says NPD mobility practice research director Brad Akyuz. 

“We’re seeing a high correlation between video streaming and screen size. Smartphone owners with a screen size of five inches or more consume 50% more data than those with phones with a screen smaller than five inches,” Akyuz tells MobileMarketing Daily. “If this is the trend, we’re going to see more and more devices with big screens.”

The continued prevalence of smartphone video streaming will likely be a boon to the wireless providers, Akyuz says. Although the majority of video streaming is done over WiFi networks, NPD estimates the average user consumes close to 3 GB of cellular data per month, with video streaming apps driving that data consumption. 

“This is very good news as long as [the providers’] networks are capable enough to handle high data traffic,” Akyuz says. “Since voice and messaging have become commodities, they have to sell bigger data buckets, and the only way to sell those buckets is if you’re using the data.”

That’s a major reason why providers such as Verizon and T-Mobile are pushing their subsidized streaming services that don’t charge for extra data usage when using specific video-streaming apps. The services are either limited in scope or screen resolution, pushing consumers to opt for other services or quality for their video streaming. 

“The more you watch, the more video you’re going to consume, and the bigger the data buckets you’re going to need,” Akyuz says. “The data buckets have gotten bigger and prices have come down, and we’re going to see that continue as [faster] networks become available.”

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