Phablet Market Surprises Some: Has it Changed Apple's Thinking?

September 09, 2014
By: Gary Kim

Things change. Sometimes they even change fast. Phablets is one example.

In February 2013, Flurry said the phablet was, “an insignificant player in the mobile ecosystem” and was not having a “meaningful impact.”

Things have changed. After Flurry surveyed owners of a sample of 59,214 devices worldwide, Flurry found phablet adoption (market share) almost quadrupled in a year’s time.

“Our data affirms what Samsung and other Android (News - Alert) manufacturers have known for some time: consumers are hungry for bigger screens,” said Flurry. A shift in end user behavior drives the change: mobile devices are becoming major platforms for content consumption.

Over the course of a year, the installed base for phablets doubled.

Today, six percent of all mobile users routinely use phablets, compared to three percent a year ago.

The other noteworthy trend is the shift in tablet form factors, from full-size to small screens.

Small tablets grew from five percent of active users to seven percent over a year, up five percent.

Full-size tablet users also grew from 13 percent to 15 percent, growth of two percent.

As you would expect, a growing installed base of phablets translates into higher app usage and web browsing from those devices.

While they account for only six percent of active users, phablet users account for 11 percent of all app sessions, up from only three percent of sessions in 2013.

Though Apple’s iPhone (News - Alert) 6 announcement might bring Apple into the phablet segment for the first time, Android devices own the phablet market.

Today, phablets account for 18 percent of all active Android devices compared to seven percent in 2013. Over the same time period, demand for medium-sized phones decreased nine percent, year over year.

Demand for small phones shrank four percent, year over year. 

The point is that--despite some significant skepticism--phablets are showing stronger demand than many had forecast.

That might have implications for Apple (News - Alert), which traditionally has eschewed the phablet form factor, as well as for all suppliers of tablets. 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi