48pc of smartphone buyers will opt for a phablet this year

25 Jun 2014

While 57pc of consumers plan to buy a smartphone this year, some 48pc of these will opt for a phablet – a very large-screened smartphone – over conventional smartphones.

Phablet devices typically have screens between 5 inches and 6 inches in size and get their names from being somewhere between a phone and a tablet: phablet.

According to the 2014 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey, almost half of this year’s smartphone buyers will opt for a phablet device over a smartphone with a screen between 4 and 5 inches.

Not to be outdone, Apple, which got the whole smartphone revolution moving with its iPhone in 2007, is planning to bring out larger versions of its flagship device, which currently has a 4-inch screen. The next-generation so-called iPhone 6, due out in October, is expected to come in two configurations – a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-inch version.

“The phablet screen size is hitting a sweet spot for a large percentage of consumers wanting more digitally connected lifestyles,” said David Sovie, managing director of Accenture’s Communications, Media and Technology group.

“To capitalise on this, consumer-technology companies should consider adjusting their digital strategies, research and development investments, product road maps and supply chains to focus more on phablet business opportunities and less so, in some cases, on the conventional smartphone market.”

Developing world leads the demand for phablets

The survey also revealed that consumer preferences for phablets are stronger in emerging countries than in developed countries.

Of the consumers planning to buy a smartphone, 67pc in India, 66pc in China and 65pc in South Africa said they would prefer to buy a phablet device. Consumers in developed countries, by contrast, were less partial to buying phablets. In the United States, for example, 40pc indicated a preference to buy a phablet.

Similarly, nearly a third (30pc) of German respondents and only 19pc of Japan’s participants prefer a phablet.

“Phablet demand in developed countries is significant, yet even bigger business opportunities are coalescing in emerging markets,” said Sovie.

“Among those, the most lucrative opportunity will likely be in China, because it is one of the world’s largest smartphone markets. Consumer-technology companies need to broaden their phablet product development and sales initiatives to target larger regional markets keen to buy phablets.”

Phablet image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years