NEW YORK: Phablets accounted for just over one fifth of US smartphone sales during the first quarter of 2015, with Apple's iPhone 6 Plus taking the lion's share of this segment.

The latest market share data from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed that in Q1 2014 phablets claimed a 6% share of smartphone sales but this figure had risen to 21% a year later.

Much of this growth was driven by the launch of the 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus in September last year: this model took 44% of all phablet sales.

While Apple's shift to a bigger screen – something Steve Jobs had resisted – was a factor, that move simply reflected a wider trend among consumers.

Screen size has become the main reason for buying a particular phone, cited by 43% of iOS and 47% of Android buyers.

As The Register noted: "Phones are now routinely big – five inches or larger – and nobody really calls them phablets any more: it's the new normal."

Another development was that fewer people were switching to iOS from Android. Kantar reported that among new iOS customers for the first quarter, 11.4% had switched from Android, compared to 14.6% who made the switch during the same period in 2014.

Going the other way, among new Android customers only 5.9% came from iOS, compared to 9.8% in Q1 2014.

Overall, Android's US market share edged upwards 0.2 percentage points to 58.1%, while that of iOS dipped by an equivalent figure to 36.5%.

Windows was a distant third (4.3%) while Blackberry was finally subsumed in the 1.1% attributed to 'other'.

Kantar suggested that the future for Windows could be brighter, noting that Windows phone sales in the US were skewed towards the pre-pay market (20%) and installment plans (51%).

"Microsoft is betting that new Windows 10 functions and the ability for developers to easily shift Android apps to Windows will make the Windows ecosystem more appealing," it said.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, The Register; additional content by Warc staff