A boom in phablet sales is expected worldwide over the next four years, although growth may be slower in mature markets like the UK.
Juniper Research has forecast 120 million units to be sold by 2018, rising from the estimated 20 million shipped in 2013. Senior analyst at Juniper, Nitin Bhas, told Mobile that the major growth is unlikely to take place in developed markets despite this significant increase in sales.
He said: ‘The phablet device has an inconsistent road ahead in the mature markets, but the same is not true of the emerging markets. We expect surprising success for the phablet once the price point falls to acceptable levels due to a lack of alternative multimedia devices in the households in those markets.’
The multi-functionality of the phablet combined with its increased size will propel the devices to ‘become a major challenger’ according to Bhas. He added that although phablet devices are generally ‘considered too big’ in most mature markets, future ‘data centric’ consumer demographics could change the situation to a more favourable environment for the large-screened handsets.
A boost in sales for phablets will be good news for Android devices like the Galaxy Note 2 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, as Juniper predicts domination for the Google-developed OS, while Windows incarnations like the Nokia Lumia 1520 will also find traction in ‘important Asian territories’.
Bhas added: ‘However, if Apple does release a phablet which falls into our definition of a phablet device, we would anticipate that this device would propel the iOS to at least second spot in terms of shipments, and for the short term be a real contender with the Android OS.’