Smartphone, tablet, and more recently the ‘phablet’... mobile devices are the number one target applications developers. And a recent study published by the San Francisco-based mobile games developer Pocket Gems reveals that screen quality has a decisive impact on in-app purchases.

High quality screens boost in-app purchases

A device’s screen is – obviously – a crucial piece to ensure a comfortable user experience. A better screen not only increases sales for the manufacturer, but also impacts developers, publishers, advertisers etc. Besides the simple comfort of the eye, the quality of the screen can indeed impact not only media consumption, but also sales. A pocket Gems study recently showed that owners of devices that have a higher quality screen also buy more virtual goods in mobile games. Although the study only focuses on virtual goods, similar behaviours might occur in other types of in-app purchases.

Better resolution, more in-app purchases

Better screen quality means that more consumers will be likely to make in-app purchases. The Pocket Gems study compares the different generations of iPhones, iPads and Android devices, and compares how many users have bought gaming applications through each. Users of the highest screen resolution Android devices, for example, are close to ten times more likely to make an in-game purchase than those who own devices with lower resolution screens. Comparing the iPhone range, the iPhone 5 brings in four times as much revenue through downloaded applications as the iPhone 3GS.

Size matters too

According to a study published by French retail market study firm NPD, sales of small tablets or large smartphones – aka ‘phablets’ – have seen a steep rise over the last few months. These new hybrid devices have triggered changes in the way their owners use mobile equipment. One major change is directly due to the size of the screen. Users with larger screen devices tend to make greater use of media applications. A 2012 study from Kantar Worldpanel, a ‘global leader in consumer knowledge and insights based on continuous consumer panels’, reveals that while just 19% of smartphone users whose screens are less than three inches in diameter use them to watch video, fully 65% of those with a screen larger than five inches in diameter do so. These various trends are proving crucial for the strategies adopted by both applications developers and mobile device manufacturers.