Phablets driving record smartphone sales

  • AFP
  • Updated: Feb 18, 2015 15:16 IST

Global smartphone sales jumped 23% in 2014 thanks to growing demand for devices with larger screens.

New data published by GfK on Tuesday shows that over 1.2 billion handsets were sold (not shipping figures), over the past 12 months. When it comes to regions, Latin America is where the demand for smartphones is currently the highest, with sales up 59% year on year.

In fact, with the notable exception of South Korea, all of the 90 markets that GfK monitors experienced a growth in smartphone sales in 2014 and it's bigger handsets with larger screens that appear to be driving demand.

Sales of smartphones with displays measuring 5-inches or more were up 180% in 2014 and, according to GfK, not only is the phablet moving into the mainstream, it is set to become the smartphone norm around the world.

Kevin Walsh, Director of Trends and Forecasting at GfK said: "In 2015, we forecast this segment to become the dominant screen size band, surpassing 4 to 4.5 inch for the first time."

The explosive growth in phablet popularity also goes towards explaining why while smartphones are enjoying record sales, the tablet market is currently in decline. Consumers are increasingly realizing that a big phone is just as good as a small tablet for most tasks.

However, as well as highlighting record sales in 2014, GfK's report forecasts a drop in demand in 2015 and expects sales to grow by just 14% over the next 12 months.

"The slowdown forecast for 2015 is due to developed markets reaching saturation point," says Walsh. "We forecast emerging regions to drive growth in 2015 as smartphones further penetrate lower price points. GfK forecasts that smartphone price bands above $150 will see a decline in their market share."

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