A billion smartphones shipped in past year

For the first time, more than 1 billion smartphones were shipped worldwide in a single year, according to a report this week.

A total of 1.004 billion smartphones were shipped to vendors in 2013, meaning phone makers sold those devices to wireless carriers, retailers or directly to their customers, according to a report by IDC.

The 2013 figure is up 38.4 percent from the 725.3 million smartphones that phone makers shipped in 2012. Smartphones accounted for 55.1 percent of all the mobile phones shipped last year, the report said.

“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,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s mobile phone team.

The increased availability of cheaper devices is what’s driving the growth in smartphone shipments, IDC said.

“Cheap devices are not the attractive segment that normally grabs headlines, but IDC data show this is the portion of the market that is driving volume,” said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “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.”

Samsung and Apple continued to lead the way when it came to shipments in 2013. Samsung shipped nearly 314 million smartphones last year, holding 31.3 percent of the market, while Apple sold 153.4 million, accounting for 15.3 percent.

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