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Smartphone shipments pass one billion in 2013

Global smartphone shipments topped one billion units for the first time last year, according to a new survey.

The research by the International Data Corporation (IDC) (opens in new tab) revealed that smartphone shipments increased by 38.4 per cent in 2013, rising from 725.3 million the previous year to 1.004 billion.

"The sheer volume and strong growth attest to the smartphone's continued popularity in 2013," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team.

"Total smartphone shipments reached 494.4 million units worldwide in 2011, and doubling that volume in just two years demonstrates strong end-user demand and vendor strategies to highlight smartphones."

Another "milestone" reached in the worldwide market saw smartphones now accounting for the majority of all mobile phone shipments for the first time, following a 15 per cent increase to 55.1 per cent of all phone shipments.

"Among the top trends driving smartphone growth are large screen devices and low cost," said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"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's research also revealed that Samsung increased its dominance as the world's biggest smartphone vendor with 42.9 per cent growth.

Related: Samsung quarterly profits fall for first time in two years (opens in new tab)

Apple, Huawei, Lenovo and LG made up the rest of the top five smartphone vendors list, with Apple seeing a 12.9 per cent fall in market share compared to 2012 despite posting record shipment volume.