According to market research firm IDC, there have been more than 1 billion smartphones shipped last year, which marks a 38.4% increase from 2012, when 725.3 million units were shipped. Samsung is the world’s biggest vendor, with a 31.3% market share which translates into 313.9 million smartphones; followed by Apple with 153.4 million iPhones, which constitutes a 15.3% share. On the following positions we find Huawei, LG, Lenovo and other companies. We reported back in November that Lenovo managed to climb on to the third place, but that was just for Q4 2013. Considering the whole of 2013, Lenovo lags behind Huawei and LG in total smartphone shipments.

one-billion-smartphones-2013The number is up by 38% from 2012’s 725 million number, which is a huge increase, indeed. However, we need to mention that this represents the number of shipped smartphones, meaning those handsets that are currently in retail or in the channel and not necessarily yet sold directly to the consumer. In 2013, smartphones have also overtaken feature phones, with 55% of the total shipments, up from 42% last year.

Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker said that large screen smartphones and cheap devices were the main factors for the increase in shipments:

Among the top trends driving smartphone growth are large screen devices and low cost. Of the two, I have to say that low cost is the key difference maker. Cheap devices are not the attractive segment that normally grabs headlines, but IDC data shows this is the portion of the market that is driving volume. Markets like China and India are quickly moving toward a point where sub-$150 smartphones are the majority of shipments, bringing a solid computing experience to the hands of many.

IDC also reported total smartphone shipments back in 2011, when they reached 494.4 million units worldwide. Now, we can see that last year’s number is more than double. I am now wondering if this stunning exponential growth could happen to tablets, as well. Overall, in the worldwide mobile phone market, which means smartphones and features phones, vendors have shipped 1,821.8 million units, up by 4.8% from 1,738.1 million in 2012.

Strategy Analytics, another reputable market research firm, has issued a similar report, but its numbers are more conservative – 990 million units shipped in 2013. Huawei, Lenovo and LG were highlighted as “star performers” with a combined 14 percent marketshare. But they also put Samsung on top of the list, and Apple second.


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