Annual smartphone shipments top one billion for first time: IDC

global smartphone shipments pass 300m for first time in single quarter

Last year was a significant one for the smartphone industry as it marked the first time shipments topped the billion mark, according to data from research firm IDC.

In total, 1.004 billion smartphones shipped in 2013, an increase of 38.4 percent on 2012’s 725.3 million shipments and more than double the 494.4 million smartphones shipped in 2011.

Four of the top five vendors last year were Korean and Chinese companies. Tech titan Samsung was way out in front, with its vast range of smartphones taking 31.3 percent of the market with 313.9 million units shipped.

Apple, which IDC said shipped 153.4 million iPhones last year, finds itself in second place with a 15.3 percent share, while Huawei (4.9 percent), LG (4.8 percent), and Lenovo (4.5 percent) make up the rest of the top five.

Samsung managed to increase its year-on-year share by one percent from 30.3 percent in 2012 although Apple’s fell 3.4 percent from 18.7 percent to 15.3 percent.”

While Apple’s year-on-year growth figures were the worst among the top five vendors, it’ll certainly be hoping for a boost this year now that it’s on board with China Mobile.

smartphone vendors 2013 IDCIDC’s data also reveals that for the first time in 2013 smartphones made up more than half of all mobile phone shipments – 55.1 percent compared to 41.7 percent in 2012 – pushing feature phones aside for the first time in terms of global sales across a whole year.

In the global mobile phone market – comprising smartphones and feature phones – vendors shipped 1.82 billion units, an increase of 4.8 percent on the 1.74 billion units shipped a year earlier.

The research firm’s Ryan Reith said the popularity of phablets and the increasing availability of low-cost smartphones had helped push shipments over the one-billion mark in the last 12 months.

“Among the top trends driving smartphone growth are large screen devices and low cost,” Reith said in a release. “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.”

He added that emerging markets such as 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.”

[Image: Kostenko Maxim / Shutterstock]

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