New research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that phablets made up 21% of smartphone sales for the first quarter of 2015, up from just 6% during the same period in 2014. Phones like the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and almost every device on the Samsung Galaxy and Samsung Note lines, are gaining tremendous ground in the United States, changing consumer expectations in a shift toward larger, more capable smartphones.
Phablets are defined as smartphones with a display screen of 5.5+ inches. These larger phones are sought out for their over-sized screens and tablet-like functionality. Nearly every major smartphone manufacturer now offers phablet models of their best-selling devices, including the fast-growing startup Xiaomi from China.
The trend toward phablets comes largely from Asian markets, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong. In these countries, 5.5+ inch displays account for 50% of smartphone users, according to Flurry Analytics. In December, 2014, Netbiscuits predicted that phablets would represent 25% of web traffic from smartphones by the end of the first quarter.
The new Apple iPhone 6 Plus claimed the majority of the supersized smartphone market, representing 44% of phablet sales in the first quarter. The iPhone brand as a whole represented 59% of smartphone sales for AT&T customers, as well as 43% of Verizon customers and 50% of Sprint customers. Samsung was most dominant in the T-Mobile network, claiming 42% of smartphone sales for the self-proclaimed “uncarrier” network.