Phablet Shipments Surge in Asia, says Digital Jungle

Author: Alex Papanastassiou

The surge of phablet shipments represent an interesting new trend in the Asia-Pacific mobile market, says Emakina’s Asia partner Digital jungle.

International Data Corporation (IDC) announced  that shipments of phablets—the hybrid mix of a smartphone and a tablet—reached 25.2 million units in the second quarter of 2013, roughly the same volume of units shipped of tablets (12.6 million) and laptops (12.7 million) combined.  Shipments in Japan were excluded from the data set.


South Korea Samsung


The massive shipments total represent a 100% increase in shipments from the previous quarter and a massive 620% jump from the second quarter of 2012.  IDC comments that the phablet frenzy (a “phabrenzy,” if you will) started in “mature markets” such as Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea and has since spread to emerging markets in the region.  IDC defines phablets as “smartphones with screen sizes of 5 to just under 7 inches” and had some interesting insights into the phablet market and the major players in it.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablet launched in the fourth quarter of 2011 in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) and quickly established itself as the phablet to own, taking roughly 90% of the market share.  In the second quarter of 2013, less than two years later, the Note series in total accounted for less than 50% of the market.


As the market has taken off, less well-known brands and vendors are producing phablets and pricing them as low as USD $220 USD while a new Samsung phablet retails for roughly USD $557.  This trend is similar to what we have observed in the smartphone market in Asia: lower cost local companies undercutting the global giants and finding the pricing sweet spot for getting high tech goods into the hands of new consumers.


IDC suggests that part of the phablets’ appeal in developing markets is that phablets allow consumers to engage with mobile telephony and while having a better browsing and multimedia experience than they could have with a smartphone.  This “best of both worlds” approach is extremely important if consumers only have enough disposable income to buy a smartphone or a tablet but want (or need) the functionality of both.


What does this rise in phablets mean for marketers? 

Well, for one thing, it means that online campaigns may now be able to use higher quality, more detailed visuals and video content, assuming that consumers have access to a fast enough broadband connection to go along with their shiny new gadgets.

It also means that apps will have to be compatible with and make effective use of the larger screens and larger suite of software present in most phablet models.  What other implications do you think the rise of phablets has for marketers in Asia?


Sources: IDC and Warc


About Digital Jungle

Digital Jungle is Emakina’s Asia partner. It is China’s largest independent content focused, digital marketing Agency, boasting 120+ staff in China and around the region. Its primary focus is to work with Western organizations to deepen their relationships between their brand and Asian consumers; through quality content and strategic thinking, to drive consumer action, and to deliver value and measurable results for our clients.



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