Smartphone market seeing steady growth, as bigger screens rule

November 29, 2017
A survey shows consumers increasingly buying large-screen smartphones or "phablets," fueling growth in the sector
A survey shows consumers increasingly buying large-screen smartphones or "phablets," fueling growth in the sector

The global smartphone market is expected to see steady if unspectacular growth in the next few years, as consumers turn increasingly to large-screen handsets known as "phablets," a market tracker said Wednesday.

A report by the research firm IDC said phablets—with displays larger than 5.5 inches (14 centimeters)—will account for some 40 percent of the 1.5 billion smartphones sold in 2017, and that the phablet share will rise to more than half by 2019.

The overall is on a modest growth pace of around three percent that will boost global sales to 1.7 billion by 2021, according to IDC researchers.

But growth is coming from the large-screen devices as sales dip for conventional handsets with displays of 5.5 inches or less, IDC said.

"In 2012, phablets were just one percent of smartphone shipments and now they are approaching 50 percent of the market just a few years later," said Ryan Reith, an IDC analyst.

"Consumers continue to consume more video entertainment, gaming, social media, and other data-heavy applications on their smartphones making the display size and type a critical factor in smartphone buying decisions," Reith added.

IDC said iPhone buyers are following this trend, with the larger-screen Apple handsets to account for 41 percent of sales volume in 2017 and 50 percent or more in 2018.

IDC said the large-screen and "premium" devices entering the market are likely to boost the average price of smartphones.

"There is no doubt that 2017 gave birth to the new ultra high-end segment of the ," said Anthony Scarsella, an IDC research manager.

"The latest flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, Google, LG, and others has pushed the high end to the $850-plus level for the first time. Despite these price hikes, consumers look as if they are willing to swallow the cost just to have the latest and greatest in their pockets."

Average selling prices for smartphones are expected to rise to $317 by 2021, up from $282 in 2016.

IDC estimated the market share for Android-powered devices to be 85.1 percent this year, and mirror the overall market over the next few years to hit 85.3 percent by 2021.

The market share for Apple is estimated at 14.8 percent in 2017, and seen slipping to 14.6 percent by 2021, IDC said.

Explore further: Smartphone sales slip as top vendors consolidate market share

Related Stories

Samsung, Apple keep top spots in smartphone market

April 27, 2017

Samsung and Apple maintained their leadership in the smartphone market in early 2017 while Chinese-based Huawei's strong growth cemented its number three position, a market tracker said Thursday.

Android smartphones dominate, Windows gains

November 12, 2013

Google's Android platform was used on four out of five smartphones sold worldwide in the third quarter, while Microsoft's Windows Phone showed strong gains, said a survey out Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Robot designed for faster, safer uranium plant pipe cleanup

April 21, 2018

Ohio crews cleaning up a massive former Cold War-era uranium enrichment plant in Ohio plan this summer to deploy a high-tech helper: an autonomous, radiation-measuring robot that will roll through miles of large overhead ...

After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?

April 21, 2018

Facebook has taken the lion's share of scrutiny from Congress and the media about data-handling practices that allow savvy marketers and political agents to target specific audiences, but it's far from alone. YouTube, Google ...

How social networking sites may discriminate against women

April 20, 2018

Social media and the sharing economy have created new opportunities by leveraging online networks to build trust and remove marketplace barriers. But a growing body of research suggests that old gender and racial biases persist, ...

Virtually modelling the human brain in a computer

April 19, 2018

Neurons that remain active even after the triggering stimulus has been silenced form the basis of short-term memory. The brain uses rhythmically active neurons to combine larger groups of neurons into functional units. Until ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.