Smartphone shipments will grow from 1.5 billion units in 2017 to 1.7 billion units in 2021, according to International Data Corporation. Phablets — smartphones with a screen size of between 5.5 inches and 7 inches — will grow the fastest and phablet market share will exceed 50% of the smartphone market by 2019, IDC said.

In a press release discussing its worldwide mobile phone tracker report, IDC said phablet sales will climb from 611 million units in 2017 to 1 billion units in 2021, representing a five-year compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent. The total smartphone market is expected to grow at a 3 percent CAGR during the same period, while traditional smartphones will decline 7.4 percent.

Phablet Market Share
Android-based phablets have been the primary driver of large-screen smartphones. Samsung’s early dominance of the phablet category has been short lived as other OEMs – many of which are Chinese OEMs — quickly pushed the category into the mainstream and even low end, according to IDC. As a result, China produced half of the 437.4 million phablets shipped in 2016.

“In 2012, phablets were just 1 percent of smartphone shipments and now they are approaching 50 percent of the market just a few years later,” said IDC vice president Ryan Reith, in a prepared statement.“The rapid transition to bezel-less smartphones will help minimize the device footprint while growing the screen size from previous generations. 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.”

IDC expects Apple’s Plus and X devices to account for 41.2 percent of its shipment volume in 2017 and 50% or more of Apple’s iPhone shipments in 2018. If the recent rumors of new, larger screen iPhones in 2018 hold true, then this number will likely grow further as a share of its overall shipment volume, according to IDC.

Image courtesy of flickr user Kyle Mahaney.