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NPD: Bigger Smartphones Use More Data

18 Nov, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Watching video, social media among top data-consuming activities

Size apparently matters when it comes to data use among smartphones, according to new research from The NPD Group.

The monthly Wi-Fi and cellular data consumption on smartphones with screens 4.5 inches and larger (7.2GB) is 44% greater than it is on smartphones with screens smaller than 4.5 inches (5GB). NPD compiles the data by leveraging a consumer panel that provides the equivalent base of 4,500 smartphone users.

Smartphone penetration continues to grow as late adopters enter the market and the number of consumers opting for larger screens on their mobile phones grows. The NPD said 61% of cell phone subscribers in the United States used a smartphone. During the past year, the availability of larger smartphones has grown from 11% of retail models at the end of Q3 2012, to 28% at the end of Q3 2013. As the availability of large-screen smartphones has grown, so has data usage, which increased 19% in the same time period.

Most of this data consumption on larger phones is due to greater use of social media, navigation, video, retail and music apps. Facebook, Google Maps, YouTube, Amazon and Pandora Radio are the apps most used among consumers with larger phones.

“Even though today larger screens represent a small part of the [overall] market, their relevance is increasing as consumers look for more ways to interact with content while on the go,” said John Buffone, director of devices and connected intelligence with The NPD Group. “This is a win, not only for the manufacturers, but also for the carriers as data consumption and usage will keep increasing.”

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