New study says market for phablets, “superphones” to reach 825 million units globally by 2018

phone phablet tablet

You have no doubt noticed a trend amongst most smartphone manufacturers to push the boundaries of screen size with several models on the market in the 5-inch or larger range. Samsung’s Galaxy Note series really pushed the market into this “phablet” sized range with its success, demonstrating there was a market for large devices. Transparency Market Research has published a new report that puts some numbers to what we seem to be seeing and predicts sales of phablets and superphones will reach 825 million units by 2018, generating $116.4 billion for manufacturers that jump into the market. Although North America has been the leader in the market to date, Asian Pacific markets like Korea, India and China are expected to experience the largest and fastest growth rates over the next five years.

According to Transparency Market Research, about 21 million Android based phablet devices were sold in 2012. By 2018, that number should reach 150 million on an annual basis. For Android superphones, Transparency Market Research expects the market to grow from 150 million Android powered units sold in 2012 to 400 million units in 2018. Currently Android phablets and superphones account for 82% and 87% of market share respectively. While Android devices will continue to dominate, Transparency Market Research does project Windows based devices will grow by huge amounts thanks to forthcoming Windows phablets from Nokia, HTC, Sony and ZTE.

Transparency Market Research defines superphones as those with screen sizes between 4 and 5 inches. Phablets are devices with screens larger than 5 inches but smaller than a tablet device. Both types of devices are characterized by fast, powerful processors and other hardware that make them more suitable for navigating documents, surfing the web, watching videos, and gaming compared to normal smartphones whose screens typically range between 2.8 and 3.5 inches.

Noticeably absent from the analysis is Apple, which has traditionally resisted pressure to produce larger devices. Should Apple ever change their strategy, that could have an impact on both market size and which manufacturers are able to succeed.

source: Transparency Market Research

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a MINI Cooper, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three mostly grown kids and a golden retriever.

  • raitchison

    This study instantly loses all credibility for using the ridiculous non-word “phablet”, that term was stupid the moment some dim-witted tech blogger first coined it (and no doubt thought he was oh so clever) but now with phones like the S4 coming in at 5″ it’s well past pathetic to continue to use it, when when the typical screen size for the high end phone is in the range of 5″ are they really going to call every phone a “Phablet”.

    For that matter there’s the term “superphone”, something I haven’t really heard since the Nexus One came out in early 2010.

    • cooldoods

      The S4 has a 4.99″ screen. The HTC One has a 4.7″ screen. The Xperia Z has a 5″ screen which qualifies it for phablet status.

  • andrew

    Bought the 6.1″ Huawei 2 weeks ago and the video replay is very poor.
    Scrolling through web pages is also jerky.
    If Chinese smartphone manufacturers want to compete with Apple, Samsung & HTC, a lot more work is needed.
    A standardised benchmark needs to be used when tech sites review these devices, to get past the hype. To assist those of us buying on-line & off contract.