Mobile

1 smartphone for every 7 humans: Smartphone shipments top a billion in 2013

Image Credit: Kostenko Maxim / Shutterstock

There are now enough smartphones for about one seventh of the world’s total population.

And that’s just counting last year’s shipments.

Research firm IDC said that device vendors shipped more than 1,004 million smartphones in 2013. That’s up more than 38 percent from the 725.3 million shipped in 2012.

The worldwide mobile phone market hit another major milestone last year: For the first time, smartphones represented the majority of all mobile phone shipments. According to IDC data, they accounted for more than 55 percent of phone shipments, compared to less than 42 percent in 2012.

Samsung continued to demonstrate its market dominance, topping the charts with a 31.3 percent global smartphone market share. Apple and its comparably high-end iPhone devices still hold 15.3 percent of the global market — although that represents a sizable drop from the prior year, when it accounted for 18.7 percent. Those two leaders are followed by Huawei, with 4.9 percent; LG, with 4.8 percent; and Lenovo, with 4.5 percent. Each of those vendors gained roughly one percentage point compared to 2012, according to IDC.

IDC’s Ryan Reith, program director of its worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker, attributed the growth in smartphone shipments to hunger for large screen devices and falling costs across the board.

“Of the two, I have to say that low cost is the key difference maker,” said Reith in a statement Monday. “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.”

Another research firm disputes the symbolic 1 billion figure: Strategy Analytics pegs global smartphone shipments at 990 million in 2013. But whichever number you trust, everyone agrees it was a record year for the smartphone industry.

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