The numbers are clear. Big is getting more popular. Large screen smart phones (five-inch and above) accounted for 22 percent of the quarter billion smartphones shipped in Q3. This is the highest number ever and translates to a staggering 56 million units.
Samsung is the dominant player in the large screen segment. Breaking this down further, 66 percent of the 56 million smart phones had a five-inch display, 31 percent had screens between five and six inches while just three percent had six-inch or larger screens.
According to Canalys, the smartphone market grew 44 percent year-on-year in Q3. The top two vendors, Samsung and Apple, maintained their positions, with market shares of 34 percent and 15 percent respectively. Huawei, Lenovo and LG completed the top five.
“The six-inch plus segment will be boosted next quarter by Nokia’s arrival, but this market won’t develop quickly unless Samsung invests marketing dollars to push its Galaxy Mega range,” said Jingwen Wang, Research Analyst of Canalys.
Over the next year, the Asia Pacific is expected to continue to lead the demand for large screen smart phones due to the nature of emerging markets there. Low PC and home broadband penetration, a high level of mobile network use, and low Wi-Fi network penetration in these countries limit the presence and functionality of Wi-Fi tablets.
At the same time, many consumers in these countries are price-sensitive, so domestic vendors have been successful with affordable large screen smart phones – a phenomenon that is less visible in other regions. Worldwide, though, Canalys expects smart phones with screens between 4.1 and 5 inches will be most popular with consumers in 2014 as they offer the best balance between portability and legibility.
At a regional level, Greater China (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) again grew the most, by 64 percent, with nearly 100 million units shipping. Greater China now accounts for 39 percent of the global market.
“There is an interesting disparity among the leading vendors across the regions,” said Nicole Peng, Research Director of Canalys China. “Samsung was the leading vendor across all regions except North America, where Apple held the top spot. These two vendors account for almost 70 percent of the market there. LG held onto third place in North America, while Nokia has moved from eighth to fourth place after making gains from its competitors with its new flagship products, the Lumia 1020 and 925.”
“In Greater China, local vendors Lenovo, Yulong and Huawei followed Samsung. Apple moved back into the top five this quarter, ahead of Xiaomi and ZTE, which shows the success of its strategy to finally prioritise China as one of the initial launch countries for its new products.”
Sony also took third place in Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), driven by its home market, Japan. Indian vendor Micromax then followed, also thanks to its domestic shipments.