Over a quarter of a billion smartphones were shipped globally in Q3 2013, with a growing proportion boasting large screens, according to a new study by Canalys.
Shipments of smartphones with screens of five inches and above accounted for 22 per cent of all shipments, or 56 million units. Samsung is the major beneficiary of the trend.
Two thirds of large-screen smartphones had a five-inch display and 31 per cent had screens of between five and six inches. Just three per cent had displays larger than six inches.
Of the overall smartphone market, Samsung and Apple kept their positions at the top of the smartphone market with market shares of 34 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.
The rest of the top five are Huawei, Lenovo and LG.
“The six inch-plus segment will be boosted next quarter by Nokia’s arrival, but this market won’t develop quickly unless Samsung invests marketing dollars to push its Galaxy Mega range,” said Jingwen Wang, Canalys research analyst.
Over the next year, Asia Pacific is expected to continue to push demand for large-screen smartphones due to the nature of the many emerging markets there. Low PC and home broadband penetration, high mobile usage and low Wi-Fi penetration in these countries limit the presence and functionality of Wi-Fi tablets.
At the same time, many consumers in these countries are sensitive to price, so domestic vendors have been successful with affordable large-screen smartphones. This phenomenon is less visible in other regions.
Worldwide, though, Canalys expects smartphones with screens between 4.1 inches and 5 inches will be most popular with consumers in 2014 as they offer the best balance between portability and legibility.