Phablet demand in the US soars as people can’t get enough of those giant phones

7 May 2015

Phablets are the hot smartphone category right now

Phablet devices claimed 21pc of all US smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2015, nearly quadrupling their 6pc share a year earlier, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.

According to Kantar, Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus took 44pc of this segment.

Screen size was cited as the main reason for buying a particular phone by both iOS and Android buyers, at 43pc and 47pc, respectively.

Apple’s overall sales dominated AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, where iPhone represented 59pc, 43pc and 50pc of smartphone sales, while Samsung dominated smartphone sales at T-Mobile with a share of 42pc.

Among new iOS customers for the first quarter, 11.4pc switched from Android, compared to 14.6pc who made the switch during the same period in 2014. Among new Android customers, only 5.9pc came from iOS, compared to 9.8pc in Q1 2014.

Despite this dip in iOS customer conversions, Android achieved a US market share of 58.1pc — a 0.2 percentage point gain over Q1 2014. LG had a particularly good first quarter, growing its share to 10.8pc from 7.4pc one year ago, while Samsung held onto second place as it prepared for the launch of its newly-released Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Good news for the Apple Watch

Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at ComTech, said that the new figures show encouraging signs of potential demand for Apple’s newest form factor, the Apple Watch.

“Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus already represent 18pc of all iPhones in use in the US, and 64pc of the iPhone installed base is an iPhone 5 or newer model — which is good news for the Apple Watch that interacts only with these newer models.

“And one week after the Microsoft developer conference kick-off, it is notable that Windows’ US market share has grown little during the past year,” Milanesi said.

“Digging a little deeper, it’s easy to see the strong value proposition that the Lumia portfolio offers, as Windows phone sales in the US skew towards the pre-pay market (20pc) and installment plans (51pc). Microsoft is betting that new Windows 10 functions and the ability for developers to easily shift Android apps to Windows will make the Windows ecosystem more appealing.”

Phablet image via Shutterstock

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