Juniper: Smartphone shipments to hit 1.2 billion by year-end, Apple iPhone 6 Plus redefining phablet market in the process

Smartphone shipments are on track to hit 1.2 billion by the end of 2014 with new research from Juniper showing that emerging markets are “vital” to the market’s continued buoyancy.

Related: Xiaomi leading the pack on the Chinese smartphone market

Juniper Research’s “Smartphone Markets: Trends, Shares & Forecasts 2014-2019” projects that the market will grow 19 per cent compared to last year’s 985 million shipments to top one billion for the first time.

Key to the continued growth are emerging markets seeing a huge surge in sales of economy devices priced between $75 [£46] and $150 [£92], and ultra-economy phones priced below $75 [£46].

Juniper went on to say that even though Apple and Samsung dominate the ultra-premium end of the market, they are facing big pressure from local companies in emerging markets. Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, is one example of the traction being gained by firms as it continues to cut a swathe through its home market and neighbouring India.

“These new players are beginning to build market share and achieve larger economies of scale, which eventually will enable them to expand their offering and challenge other Smartphone sectors in the future,” read the press release.

Eventually this will result in the average selling price of a smartphone falling to $274 [£168] by 2019. Apple’s decision to introduce a larger-sized iPhone, meanwhile, has been met with an optimistic reaction by Juniper, the analysts stating it has the ability to “change the dynamics” of the phablet market with the 5.5in screen size.

Related: A closer look at the smartphone market in 2013: Android and iOS dominate but Windows Phone surging

Samsung and Apple have little to worry about in the short term considering that the two will account for some 45 per cent of the global smartphone market, however, they would be wise to address their respective positions in emerging markets sooner rather than later.