When it comes to smartphones, these days bigger seems to be better.
Worldwide shipments of smartphones with screens measuring 5 inches or more soared 369% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, a growth rate substantially faster than that of the overall market. Worldwide big-screen devices represented 34% of smartphone shipments, according to market research firm Canalys.
All told, worldwide shipments of smartphones totaled 279.4 million in the first quarter, up 29% from a year earlier. Android devices accounted for 81% of the total, followed by iOS (16%) and Windows Phone (3%).
Among smartphone brands, Samsung was the leader with 31% of the market, ahead of Apple at 16%.
China was the world's largest smartphone market, accounting for 35% of shipments. The U.S. had 12%.
"The trend is unmistakably toward larger-screen handsets at the high end of the market," said Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee. She noted that Samsung held a 44% share of devices with displays of 5 inches or more.
"Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple’s absence in this market will clearly not last long," she said. "Apple plainly needs a larger-screen smartphone to remain competitive, and it will look to address this in the coming months."