Consumer preference for bigger smartphones on the up

Average screen size preference is on the up, but manufacturers are still well ahead

Shona Ghosh
10 May 2013

Smartphone owners not only like big screens on their devices – they actually want bigger displays when they upgrade, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

The average consumer preference for screen size is now 4.5in, up from a preferred size of 4.3in at the end of 2011. And "nearly all" with a smartphone wanted their next phone to have a bigger screen.

But that average preference isn’t quite keeping up with the latest devices, with Samsung especially pioneering phones with huge screens. Its upcoming Mega series will encompass two new smartphones offering 5.8in (pictured) and 6.3in screens, something reviewers have dismissed as too big. That compares with a 4in screen on the iPhone 5 and a 5in display on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Nokia, which has so far shunned larger screens, is also reportedly planning to bring out a 6in ‘phablet' in a bid to keep up.

"The intention of many manufacturers to drive screen size up has been very clear over recent months," said Strategy Analytics analyst Paul Brown. "There is the potential for 'phablets' at the lower end of the size scale to become more mainstream, especially as manufacturers work to maximize the ratio of screen to overall size, providing a larger screen on a smaller form factor."

Clearly, however, there won’t be an infinite trajectory of larger screens, with Strategy Analytics noting that manufacturers would increasingly need to consider how smartphone owners are actually using their devices.

"Larger devices are harder to interact with one-handed, and so it is important for user-interfaces, and especially on-screen key placements, to be designed to allow for easy interaction," said user experience analyst Kevin Nolan.

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