Bigger screens, smaller prices: How your smartphone will change this year

Buyers in the world's largest smartphone market are showing the way on device sizes.

No, it's not just you - handsets are getting bigger the world over.

According to data from researchers GfK, the average size of a smartphone is set to break the five-inch barrier this year, with the most common device size likely to become between five and 5.6 inches. Previously, the most common device size was four to 4.5 inches.

Devices with screen sizes between five and 5.6 inches were one of the fastest growing smartphone segments last year, with sales rising by 150 percent year on year in 2014.

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Buyers' growing hunger for larger screen sizes is likely to have been stimulated by the release of a number of high-profile devices last year with displays over five inches: Apple's iPhone 6 Plus and LG's G3 both came with a 5.5-inch screen, while Samsung opted for a slightly smaller 5.1-inch display for the Galaxy S5, and Microsoft went full phablet with the six-inch Lumia 1520.

The trend towards more palm-stretching devices is particularly evident in China, the largest smartphone market in the world. According to GfK, while smartphone sales in the country were flat in the last quarter of 2014, the total value of the market increased 21 percent year on year as consumers upped the amount they were prepared to pay for their device in order to get a bigger screen model.

Elsewhere in the world, the average amount a smartphone buyer paid for their handset fell, with cheaper models expected to account for an increasing proportion of smartphones sales in future.

"We forecast emerging regions to drive growth in 2015 as smartphones further penetrate lower price points. GfK forecasts that smartphone price bands above $150 will see a decline in their market share. At the next level down, $100 to $150, sales will remain stable, but it is the cheaper smartphones priced below this point that will gain share," said Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK.

The global smartphone market was worth $115bn globally last year, with China's local market reaching $28bn - both record-breaking figures, according to GfK.

Over 1.2 billion smartphones were sold across the world during 2014, the researchers reported.

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