The phablet is having a moment.
The days of the 3.5-inch or 4.0-inch screen are gone. The entire smartphone market has been trending toward the phablet category over the past few quarters.
We at BI Intelligence define the phablet as a smartphone with a screen between 5 inches and 7 inches.
While this is a broad definition, the advantage is that it captures one of the most important trends in the smartphone market in the last couple of years — the phenomenal popularity of phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 released in 2013 (5 inches) and S5 launched in 2014 (5.1 inches).
In part, the massive success generated by the Galaxy line is responsible for nudging all phone manufacturers toward the the phablet.
The iPhone line has kept to smaller screen sizes so far, but the expectation is that later this year Apple will be launching two large-screened phones. One of these, with a 5.5-inch screen, would fall under our definition of a phablet.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we survey these trends toward larger screens and build out our own forecast for the phablet market. We also look at how phablets have altered the smartphone market and cannibalised demand for tablets.
Here are of the key points about the phablet market:
- Phablets are the fastest-growing smartphone category. We forecast global phablet shipments will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% in the next five years, which is almost double the 15% compound rate for the smartphone market over the same period.
- Phablet shipments will hit 1.5 billion in 2019. With that, phablets will account for 59% of total global smartphone shipments during that year, which is up from an expected 35% this year.
- Phablet sales are cannibalising tablet sales globally. Tablet demand has whithered. By 2019, there will be three times as many phablets shipped as tablets.
- Phablets have accelerated the trend toward consumer time-spend on visually oriented social media and messaging apps . Larger-screen real estate encourages sustained on-the-go engagement on content-centric social networks and apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LINE. More than half of activity on phablets is tied to social networks.
In full, the report:
- Forecasts total full-year shipments for the phablet market between 2014 and 2019.
- Discusses the increasing popularity of the phablet and its effect on the larger global smartphone market.
- Revises our previous tablet market forecast down to reflect the phablet’s cannibalization of tablet demand.
- Outlines phablet users’ social media-centric behaviour patterns and correlates it with the rise of visually oriented social networks and messaging apps.