Smartphone Shipments Top 1 Billion Units for First Time, Android the 'Clear Leader'

Hot on the heels of an earlier report by Nielsen that around two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) announced today that the smartphone market as a whole reached another milestone in 2013 by surpassing the 1 billion shipments mark for the first time. IDC says Android and iOS are largely to thank, and especially the former, which is found on nearly 8 out of every 10 smartphones around the world.

"Clearly, there was strong end-user demand for both Android and iOS products during the quarter and the year," says Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "What stands out are the different routes Android and Apple took to meet this demand. Android relied on its long list of OEM partners, a broad and deep collection of devices, and price points that appealed to nearly every market segment. Apple's iOS, on the other hand, relied on nearly the opposite approach: a limited selection of Apple-only devices, whose prices trended higher than most. Despite these differences, both platforms found a warm reception to their respective user experiences and selection of mobile applications."

Image Source: Flickr (jfingas)

While both found a "warm reception," Android's was far more toasty (and toast-worthy). By IDC's count, Android closed out 2013 with a 78.1 percent share of the smartphone market, up from 70.3 percent in same quarter a year prior. Apple, on the other hand, came in a distant second with a 17.6 percent share, down from 20.9 percent in Q4 2012.

Windows Phone continues to make small gains, going from a 2.6 percent of the market at the end of 2012 to a 3 percent share at the end of 2013. Meanwhile, BlackBerry is clinging to a 0.6 percent share on 1.7 million shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 3.2 percent a prior.