RESEARCH FIRM Canalys has reported that smartphones with 5in displays and larger account for over a third of the global smartphone market, with Samsung leading the pack.
According to the firm's survey of the smartphone market in the first quarter, phablet shipments grew 369 percent year on year and now account for 34 percent of the global market. Smartphones with screens sized 5in to 5.4in account for the majority with a 22 percent share, while devices measuring 5.5in to 5.9in account for 10 percent and devices over 6in claim 2 percent of the market.
Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee said, "This is still a market segment led by Samsung, but the trend is unmistakably toward larger-screen handsets at the high end of the market. It held a 44 percent share of devices with displays of 5in and above, and 53 percent if the view is narrowed to look at 5.5in plus displays."
However, Huawei and Sony have also made their marks on the phablet market, Canalys noted, adding that Apple likely will soon join them with the rumoured 5.5in iPhone 6.
"But many other vendors, such as Lenovo, Huawei, LG and Sony, have also achieved significant volumes in this space with products at the top end of their portfolios. Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple's absence in this market will clearly not last long," Kwee added.
"Apple plainly needs a larger-screen smart phone to remain competitive, and it will look to address this in the coming months."
This growth in phablet shipments comes just months after a Juniper Research report claimed that phablet shipments will reach 120 million in 2018, up from 20 million in 2013. µ