Bad news if you prefer smartphones that you can actually fit in the palm of your hand: Phablet sales are taking off in the U.S. and it doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down any time soon. 21 percent of all phone sales in Q1 2015 were for phablet-sized devices, Kantar World Panel research says, up from just 6 percent in Q1 2014.
These super-sized smartphones were once the exception, but they’re fast becoming the rule, with smaller phones becoming rarer. The market study found that the iPhone 6 Plus accounted for 44 percent of all phablet sales, justifying Apple’s decision to go large with an extra handset alongside the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.
Manufacturers are always going to devote most of their time and resources to the handsets that are most in demand — and that could lead to smaller phones getting edged out. Google’s Nexus 6 is close to 6 inches from corner to corner and there have been recent rumors that the next Huawei-made Nexus is going to measure a not inconsiderable 5.7 inches.
And those screen sizes play a big part in the choices made by consumers. “Screen size was cited as the main reason for buying a particular phone by both iOS and Android buyers at 43 percent and 47 percent, respectively,” says the Kantar Worldpanel report. That means nearly half of us are picking a phone primarily on the size of its display.
A market share of one in five may not seem too dominant, but it’s the rapid rise of phablet-sized devices that’s most noticeable, and it seems certain to continue for the foreseeable future — perhaps Samsung knew something no one else did when it launched the Note series back in 2011.