Supersized smartphone popularity surges in 2010, NPD Group claims

Market research firm The NPD Group on Monday published the latest data surrounding sales of supersized smartphones in the U.S. Using its “Mobile Phone Track,” which tracks smartphone sales in the U.S., NPD has determined that smartphones with screens sized 4 inches and above became tremendously popular in 2010. Devices like Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G and  Verizon Wireless’ Motorola DROID X, which launched in the second quarter of 2010, grew to encompass 24% of the U.S. smartphone market by the fourth quarter last year. The EVO 4G was the most popular supersized smartphone in 2010, followed by the DROID X. Samsung’s Fascinate, Captive and Vibrant rounded out the top-5 in that order, according to NPD Group. The firm’s report also notes that fourth-quarter sales of smartphones with screens between 3.5 and 3.9 inches grew just 2% compared to the same quarter in 2009, and sales of smartphones with screens sized 3.4 inches and below dropped 63% over the same period. Hit the break for the full press release.

The NPD Group: Larger Smartphone Screens Gain in Popularity

Driven largely by sales of high-end Android phones, mobile handsets with screens that are 4 inches or larger now comprise nearly one quarter of all smartphone sales.

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 – According to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, U.S. consumers are willing to give up room in their pockets and handbags to gain a richer media experience on their mobile devices. The U.S. market share for iPhones and other smartphones with screen sizes between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches have remained steady, but smartphones with the largest screens (4 inches or larger) have grabbed market share from devices with screen sizes that are less than 3.5 inches.

Based on the latest information from NPD’s Mobile Phone Track, smartphones with 4-inch-or-larger screens, like Samsung’s Galaxy S, HTC’s EVO 4G and Motorola’s Droid X, which debuted in the second quarter (Q2) of 2010, quickly grew to encompass 24 percent of the market by Q4 2010. The market share for iPhones and other smartphones with screen sizes between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches increased 2 percent over the prior year’s Q4; while the market share of smartphones with screens smaller than 3.4 inches, declined from 63 percent in Q4 2009 to just 36 percent of the smartphone market in Q4 2010.

The five best-selling handset models in 2010 that had screen sizes of 4 inches or larger were as follows:

  1. HTC EVO 4G
  2. Motorola Droid X
  3. Samsung Fascinate
  4. Samsung Captivate
  5. Samsung Vibrant

“The explosion in Web and video content available for smartphones has caused consumers to rethink their phones’ sizes,” said 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. Handset vendors are continuing to push the envelope of pocket real estate to complement the video capabilities of 4G handsets.”

While men still make up the largest share of consumers purchasing smartphones with the largest screen sizes, women are increasingly likely to buy them. In Q2 2010 just 30 percent of large-screen smartphone purchasers were women, but by Q4 2010 women represented 40 percent of large-screen smartphone sales.

Data Note: The information in this press release is from Mobile Phone Track – NPD’s consumer tracking of U.S. consumers, aged 18 and older, who reported purchasing a mobile phone. NPD does not track corporate/enterprise mobile phone purchases.

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