New statistics show that Apple needs to release a bigger version of the iPhone

New data shows that the UK is embracing large-screen phones, as models bigger than 4.9in accounted for nearly a quarter of shipments in the first quarter of 2014.

The results show a growing consumer interest in larger smartphones, with shipments of screens over 4.9in growing to 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, compared to just seven per cent for the same period in 2013.

Read more: The gaping hole in Apple's line-up: An iPhone phablet

Screens below 4.2in accounted for 62 per cent of shipments in Q1 of 2013 but fell significantly to 48 per cent in 2014.

Furthermore, the sales of phones with screens larger than 5.9in, often dubbed phablets, have grown 100 times over since 2013, but still only account for one per cent of the market.

According to Jeremy Davies of Context, the company that carried out the survey, this data points to a trend that Apple can't afford to miss, and does indeed come ahead of rumours of a larger iPhone being released later in the year.

The largest Apple smartphone models currently in circulation are the iPhone 5, 5C and 5S, which all pack 4in screens.

Read more: The ever-growing smartphone: Why have phablets become so popular?

Davies believes that Apple will "have to do a 4.7in phone," adding, "This isn't cannibalisation of the existing market. The overall market seems to be growing."

Separate data collected by Chitika shows that Samsung is slowly eating into Apple's dominance, with the South Korean firm's market share rising from 21.4 per cent to 22.8 per cent and Apple's falling from 49.7 per cent to 48.9 per cent, year-on-year.