A new global survey published by Accenture reveals that nearly half of all consumers who plan on buying a new mobile phone in 2014 would rather have a phablet over the conventional smartphone.
As part of their annual Digital Consumer Survey released Monday, Accenture asked 23,000 consumers across 23 countries about their interest in buying various electronics and found that 57 percent of respondents said they plan on buying a smartphone in 2014. Among them, 48 percent said they prefer to buy a smartphone with a screen greater than five inches over the traditional size of four to five inches.
While research has suggested that phablets will continue to increase in popularity, the survey by Accenture finds that the phablet revolution is more evident in emerging markets compared to developed ones. In the United States, for example, 40 percent of respondents indicated a preference to buy a phablet whereas close to two thirds of consumers want phablets in China (66%), India (67%), and South Africa (65%). Japan showed the least enthusiasm for phablets coming in at just 19%.
So what makes phablets so popular in these emerging markets? Analysis by Juniper released earlier this year suggests that it’s mainly due to economic flexibility since the dual-functionality of a phablet eliminates the need for more than one device. Gamers in South Korea and video streamers in China also play a large role in providing a large phablet consumer base. Juniper says they expect the number of phablet shipments to jump from around 20 million devices in 2013, to 120 million by 2018 – a 600 percent increase.
Established names like Samsung, Nokia, and HTC have enjoyed dominance in the developed phablet market for quite some time but now Apple has finally decided to test the phablet waters with the release of their new 5.5-inch iPhone, which is rumored to arrive this fall. Some analysts wonder if the availability of an iPhone tablet will harm iPad sales but this scenario is unlikely considering 5.5-inches is still slowly becoming the norm when compared to devices like the Xperia Z Ultra or the monsterous Galaxy W.
The online survey conducted by Accenture included 23,000 consumers from 23 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. The sample size in each country was proportionate to the size of the online population and represented all age groups beginning at 14.
Each person was asked to answer questions about their interest in buying various consumer electronics including smartphones, phablets, tablets, desktops and televisions. For the purposes of its report, Accenture uses the term phablet to refer to handsets that have a screen size between 5.0 inches and 7.0 inches.