The future belongs to phablets. That’s the pronouncement from International Data Corporation. According to the IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, global phablet shipments are steaming toward 175 million units for this year.
Next year, however, total phablet volumes will top 318 million units. That will surpass — and rather easily — the 233 million tablets forecast to ship in 2015.
While phablets are a relatively new category of device, first picking up volume in 2012, the pressure that the category has placed on the tablet market has already been clearly observed as the growth of smaller, 7 inch tablets has begun to slow.
IDC says it expects more consumers to shift back toward larger-sized tablets with their next purchase. However, that trend hasn’t made up for the decreased shipments of smaller sizes, which has resulted in lower overall expectations for the tablet market in 2014 and beyond.
“With Apple expected to join the space in the coming weeks, we anticipate even more attention on phablets as larger screen smartphones become the new norm,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
IDC expects phablets to grow from 14.0% of the worldwide smartphone market in 2014 to 32.2% in 2018.