Smartphones with screen sizes of “5 to just under 7 inches” (phablets) overtook shipments of each of the portable PC and tablet device categories in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) in the second quarter of 2013.
According to IDC, device makers shipped 25.2 million phablets in the second quarter of 2013, compared with 12.6 million tablets and 12.7 million portable PCs. Phablet shipments grew by 620 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2012.
“Phablets first started as a trend driven by mature markets like South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore – and these markets continue to rise. What’s changed now is the added pick-up of phablets in emerging markets like China and India, not just the plethora of big-name vendors competing head-to-head with Samsung, but instead the low-cost local players who have swooped in to offer big screens for less money – averaging a retail price of US$220 versus Samsung’s US$557,” Melissa Chau, senior research manager with the client devices team for IDC Asia Pacific.
Contrastingly, the growth rate for tablets was hit in Q2, in part due to high inventory carry over from Q1, the seasonal lull in Apple’s iPad refresh cycle, and “some cannibalisation of tablets by phablets”.
IDC said that particularly in emerging markets, where consumers may not have the cash to pick up multiple devices, phablets are winning out to “capture both the telephone and better browsing and multimedia experience”.
Looking forward, the research firm said that it expects interest in portable PCs to pick up as more hybrid and touch-enabled models launch, while tablets will benefit from the launch of Apple’s refreshed models and continued growth in the “7 to 9 inches” category.