Bring up the topic of smartphones with your friends and the conversations will soon turn into a debate over the reasons why some think the Android OS phones are better than iOS phones. While the iOS phones are only available in a limited number of models from Apple, the Android OS is available on dozens of different models from dozens of different phone manufacturers.
Regardless what your personal smartphone choice is, knowing what your customers are using will help you design a mobile website to best meet their needs. I'm once again returning to the data I collected from retail jewelry websites during the 2015 Holiday Season. These results are specific to the jewelry industry and may not apply to other industries.
Most Popular Smartphone Manufacturers
The top 6 smartphone vendors in the month of December 2015 were:
- 67.4% iPhones
- 19.4% Samsung
- 3.5% LG
- 2.9% Motorola
- 1.4% Microsoft
- 1.3% HTC
The iPhone has been at the top of this list since I stated tracking and reporting on browser usage a few years ago.
Screen Resolutions of Popular Smartphones
Here's a breakdown of the most popular screen resolutions for each of the above smartphone manufacturers showing the two most popular for each.
320x568 (iPhone 5, 5C, 5S)
375x667 (iPhone 6, 6S)
Putting This Information To Use
Responsive website design is the most popular method of creating mobile-friendly websites right now. Most webmasters will test the effectiveness of their responsive design simply by changing the window size of their desktop browser to match the screen resolutions I'm showing above, but that's not the best way to test your site since all of the hardware acts a little differently.
The best way to understand what your users are seeing on your mobile website is to use the same devices they are using. In this case, that's the iPhone 5 and 6, which both had about equal popularity. The iPhone 6 Plus screen size was also popular. I recommend that the person working on the jewelry website use a real iPhone 6 for testing. It doesn't need to be a phone with an active cell phone plan; a second hand phone is perfectly fine. I keep a few older phones around the office just for this type of testing.
If you don't have the luxury of having multiple phones laying around, you can also get an extension for your web browser that will simulate a different device. As of this writing, I have the extension "User-Agent Switcher for Google Chrome 1.8.9" installed in my Chrome browser. I also have the extension "Window Resizer" installed. Using both extensions at the same time provides a reasonable simulation, but this will not replace testing on the actual devices.