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Big screen, big sales: 'Phablet' sales nearly fourfold

When outsize smartphones first came out, many scoffed at the massive screen sizes. Now, consumers seem crazy for the so-called "phablets."

Sales of smartphones with larger screens almost quadrupled during the last quarter, according to market research firm Kantar Worldpanel. Apple's iPhone 6 Plus was the biggest driver behind the soaring sales, amounting to 44 percent of the total phablet purchases, the firm reported.

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All told, phablets claimed 21 percent of all smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2015, a few percentage points shy of a fourfold increase from their 6 percent market share the same quarter last year.

The iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
The iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6

Consumers cited screen size as the main reason for buying bigger iOS and Android phones, Kantar said.

Kantar noted that Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus already represent 18 percent of all iPhones in use in the United States.