Shipment of phablets (smartphones with 5.5-6.9” screens) will grow 5-fold to more than 400 million against 138 million devices estimated to be shipped in 2015, said Juniper Research.
While the Apple iPhone 6 Plus has brought the category further into the limelight, budget devices will drive phablets into the global mainstream.
The report called Tablets, Phablets & Hybrids: Ecosystem Evolution, Vendor Landscape & Forecasts 2014-2019 said many flagship smartphones are likely to be phablets by default within 2 or 3 years.
The growth driver will be consumers’ demand for large screen smartphones for media consumption and gaming.
Since consumers with phablets will be less likely to buy smaller-screened tablets, tablet adoption in markets where consumers already do most computing on smartphones, such as China, will face slow down.
The report also said Chinese vendors looking to expand tablet and phablet offerings internationally are likely to see much slower growth due to low-key marketing strategies and online-only distribution.
The use of phablets in the workplace is expected to increase in the coming years, with vendors offering productivity software as standard with certain devices.