Smartphone Sales Exceed 1 Billion Units World Wide in 2013, Samsung Leader of the Pack

Talk about a banner year for smartphone sales. According to the newest data published by International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone shipments around the globe topped 1 billion units for the first time ever in 2013, representing a significant 38.4 percent jump from the 725.3 million units tallied in 2012. That figure is also within less than 1 percent of IDC's forecast, so give the company's bean counters a cookie.

"The sheer volume and strong growth attest to the smartphone's continued popularity in 2013," says 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."

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Image Source: Flickr (John.Karakatsanis)

Smartphone makers take note -- large screen devices and low cost are the two biggest reasons why the smartphone market is growing at such a rapid pace, IDC says. Of the two, price plays the bigger role, especially in markets like China and India where sub-$150 smartphones make up the bulk of shipments.

Leading the way in smartphone shipments is Samsung. The South Korean handset maker ended the quarter as the "clear leader" with a staggering 313.9 million unit smartphone shipments, enough to grab hold of nearly a third of the market (31.3 percent). That's more than twice as many as Apple, its next closest competitor, which shipped 153.4 million iPhone devices in 2013 for a 15.3 percent share of the market.