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Mar 10

Screen resolution statistics

As graphic designer and enthusiast in computer history, I became curious how the screen resolutions evolved over the years and which screen resolutions were most popular in all time, so I analyzed the global stats in Excel.

Screen resolution statistics .XLS – Source of data:
W3Counter – since May 2007, sample: 80,000+ sites using their services according real-time counter in footer.
NetMarketshare – since November 2007, 40,000 sites, 160 million unique visits according FAQ.
StatCounter – since March 2009, sample: 3+ million sites using their services according FAQ.

Databases created in May 2014, last update January 2016. I will update in the future depending by how many people leave comments on this page.

First time I used W3Counter, then found the highly-detailed StatCounter but I was not happy of historical coverage being 2009-present only, then NetMarketshare. I copied monthly data in an Excel table (the process took few hours) then I analyzed it, made charts about evolution of screen resolutions, etc. Then compiled the below table summarized.
I tried to find detailed statistics going back to 2003 at least to study the origins of widescreen bullshit, but no success.

Screen resolution by country .XLS – Source of data: StatCounter only.

StatCounter Global Stats - Top 10 Screen Resolutions

 

Resolution Aspect
ratio
Peak
W3Counter
Peak Net
Marketshare
Peak
StatCounter
Devices
640×480
VGA
4:3 1990s computers
800×600
SVGA
4:3 1990s computers
1024×768
XGA
4:3 50%+
pre-2007
50%+
pre-2007
40%+
pre-2008
14″, 15″ monitors (1990s – 2007)
14″, 15″ laptops (early 2000s – 2007)
1152×864
XGA+
4:3 4%+
pre-2007
3.2%+
pre-2007
3.3%+
pre-2008
No device have this as native resolution
1280×960
SXGA-
4:3 1.09%
Jan-Apr 2009
0.95%
Jun 2009
1.22%
Jun-Jul 2009
No device have this as native resolution
1280×1024
SXGA
5:4 17.25%
Aug-Sep 2007
13%+
2007
11%+
pre-2008
17″, 19″ monitors (1990s – 2011)
High-end laptops (early – mid 2000s)
1400×1050
SXGA+
4:3 1%+
pre-2007
0.8%+
pre-2007
0.4%+
pre-2008
High-end laptops (mid 2000s)
1600×1200
UXGA
4:3 0.71%
Mar 2009
0.35%
Jun 2009
20″, 21.3″ monitors (1990s – late 2000s)
High-end laptops (mid 2000s)
1600×1280
unnamed
5:4 CRT monitors only (early 2000s)
1800×1440
unnamed
5:4 CRT monitors only (early 2000s)
1920×1440
unnamed
4:3 CRT monitors only (early 2000s)
2048×1536
QXGA
4:3 CRT monitors only (early 2000s)
1280×768
WXGA
5:3 1.58%
Aug 2009
1.83%
Jul 2009
1.98%
Sep 2009
Few laptops (mid-2000s – 2009)
1280×800
WXGA
16:10 20.43%
Aug 2009
20.81%
Jun 2009
19.72%
Nov 2009
13.3″, 14.1″ laptops (2004 – 2009)
1440×900
WXGA+
16:10 8.73%
Jul 2009
9.06%
Sep 2009
7.97%
Oct 2009
19″ monitors (2004 – 2011)
14.1″, 15.4″ laptops (2004 – 2009)
1600×1024
WSXGA
~16:10 20″ monitors (2003 – 2004)
1680×1050
WSXGA+
16:10 9.73%
Jul 2009
5.81%
Jul 2009
4.60%
Mar 2010
22″ monitors (2004 – 2011)
15.4″, 17″ high-end laptops (2005? – 2009)
1920×1200
WUXGA
16:10 2.05%
Jul, Sep 2009
2.26%
Dec 2009
1.36%
Mar 2010
24″ monitors (2004 – 2011)
17″ high-end laptops (2005? – 2009)
2560×1600
WQXGA
16:10 0.15%
(present)
0.04%
2013-2014
30″ monitors (2006? – present)
1024×600
WSVGA
~17:10 2.21%
Oct-Nov 2011
1.63%
Jan, Dec 2013
2.41%
Aug 2011
10.6″ netbooks (2008 – present)
1280×720
HD
16:9 1.84%
Sep 2014
1.7%+
(present)
Unknown devices (mid 2000s – present)
1360×768
WXGA
~16:9 1.44%
Feb 2013
2.72%
Aug 2011
Unknown devices (mid 2000s – present)
1366×768
WXGA
~16:9 21.21%
Nov 2014
17.45%
Oct 2014
27.81%
Nov 2014
18.5″ monitors (2008 – present)
13.3″, 14″, 15.6″ laptops (2008 – present)
1600×900
HD+
16:9 4.5%+
(present)
5.75%
Jul 2014
5.7%+
(present)
20″ monitors (2008 – present)
15.6″ laptops (2008 – present)
1920×1080
Full HD
16:9 7%+
(present)
8%+
(present)
10%+
(present)
21.5″, 23″ monitors (2008 – present)
17.3″, 18.4″ laptops (2008 – present)
2560×1440
Quad HD
16:9 1%+
(present)
0.6%+
(present)
27″ monitors (2010 – present)
3840×2160
Ultra HD
16:9 28″ monitors (2014 – present)

 

Additional stats for enthusiasts of computer history:

W3Schools – 2000-present stats but not detailed and unreliable (traffic of their own site only, high-end internet users).

onestat.com – 2002-present press releases, showing that 1280×800 was non-existent in 2004.

utexas.edu – 2004-2006, very small traffic sample, about 10.000 monthly visitors of their university site, exact percentages are not relevant, but it show when widescreens appeared: in March 2004 report 1280×800 had 0.49% and 1440×900 had 0.38% while in December 2005 report 1440×900 and 1680×1050 were still rare (1%) but 1280×800 laptops gained significant marketshare (7.58%).

Conclusion:

800×600 was most popular screen resolution having a market share 56% in 2000 and was overtaken in 2003 by 1024×768 which reached a peak of 57% market share in 2006 (according W3Schools).

1024×768 was most popular screen resolution for long time, having over 50% marketshare before 2007 and was overtaken by 1366×768 in March 2012 which seems to reach a peak of 27%+ late 2014 or 2015. Popular were also 1280×800 with a peak of 19.72% in Nov 2009 and 1280×1024 with peak in 2007 (according StatCounter).

1920×1080 exceeded 10% at end of 2014 and may become the most popular screen resolution in the next years!

Note:

Screen resolution does NOT reflect monitor sizes. You can see in the above table 1152×864 (peak 3%+) and 1280×960 (peak 1.22%), despite that NO monitors were manufactured with this size. This indicate that many people set the monitor at lower resolution than native resolution (me too, I have a 20″ 1600×1200 monitor but I run most times at 1280×960, loss of sharpness is not a problem, I change to maximum/native resolution only when I need it, for example a large Excel table).

CRT monitors retain their sharpness at any resolution, this is why you can see CRTs capable of higher resolutions than LCDs of same size. For example 21″ CRTs can display 1600×1280 or 1800×1440 but you would prefer to use 1280×1024 to make text readable.

LCD monitors are sharp only when run at native resolution, so most standalone monitors have dotpitch 0.25-0.29 mm while most laptops have 0.20-0.25 mm. Making LCDs capable of higher resolutions would make text too small and unreadable at native resolution, or blurry if you set a lower resolution.

Country stats

StatCounter provide data for every country, I found few interesting facts about different dominant resolutions:

In United States, 1024×768 lost the lead in Nov 2010 in favor of 1280×800 then in July 2011 was overtaken by 1366×768. 1920×1080 reached 11%+ in Dec 2014.

In United Kingdom, 1024×768 lost the lead in Aug 2009 in favor of 1280×800 then in May 2011 was overtaken by 1366×768. 1920×1080 reached 10%+ in Dec 2014.

In India, 1024×768 lost the lead in May 2012 in favor of 1366×768 which reached 40%+ market share in 2014. FULL HD 1920×1080 penetration is only 3% (too poor people?).

In Iraq, 1366×768 reached a huge 60%+ marketshare. Beside 1024×768 and 1280×800, no other resolution ever exceeded 7%. 1920×1080 is only 1.2%.

Biggest computer screens were in Switzerland (until 2012), highest share of big monitors, 1920×1200 reaching 5%+, 1680×1050 reaching 12%+, etc, much higher than Europe average (1.86% and 7.4%). Since 2013 South Korea, the world leader in TV and monitor manufacturing, took the lead, the FULL HD 1920×1080 is dominating with an impressive 40%+ market share in late 2013 (the quick rise compared with other countries sounds for me an error in counting stats). Japan is the second.

Surprisingly, Russia have bigger screens than United States or United Kingdom, 1280×1024 dominated from 2009 to 2012, having over 30% marketshare in 2009 while 1280×800 never exceeded 17% (probably laptops are unpopular there, 17″ and 19″ monitors imported as second hand from Western Europe, and they run at native resolution).

Smallest computer screens were in Somalia, and currently in Pakistan, where 1024×768 still dominate as 2014, and 1920×1080 reached only 0.9% at end of 2014.

If in Europe and USA 16:10 resolutions reached the peak in 2009, in Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan they are still growing as 2014, even 1280×1024. Probably this is the place where our old monitors go.

 

Personal experience as graphic designer

Websites can be done responsive, adjusting automatically to any screen resolution, but a lot of other things, such as image resolution cannot be changed without loss of quality, so dimensions of images need to be decided.

I am also doing 2D images and 3D modelling for artistic purposes, since 2004.
When I started this website (in 2009), I had a 17″ 1280×1024 monitor but running most time at 1024×768. I was not aware of 16:9 trend, not even of 16:10 that started in 2003.
I was also obsessed by the powers of 2. I made images in The Sims section of my website at 1024×768 and rendered my artworks of 3D models (since 2004) at 2048×1536 (this is also half of the maximum resolution supported by AutoCAD: 4096×4096), with thumbnails at 256×192. For wide panoramas I was using 2048×1024 (so-called 16:8).

Only in 2014 when was the time to buy a new monitor and I done the above study of screen resolution, I realized that for screen resolutions, the common dimensions are the numbers divisible by 160 or 240 (example 640, 800, 1280, 1440, 1680, 1920) and that 1024×768 and 1366×768 are the ONLY screen resolutions that do not follow this rule, and strangely they are most popular.

I decided that for future works, to use 1920×1080 as much is possible and 1440×1080 if 4:3 format is required, with thumbnails at 320×180 and 240×180. These numbers have advantage that they are divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, etc, allowing better scaling of image thumbnails, unlike 1024 which is divisible only by 2, 4, 8, 16, etc…

Note: I would have liked more to make images at 1600×1200 and 1920×1200 instead, which are also the maximum resolution of square and wide monitors, but the idiots standardized at 1080p instead…

1 comment

  1. Hayley Murillo

    It’s amazing in support of me to have a web site, which is useful in favor of my knowledge. thanks admin

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