WASHINGTON - The smartphone market hit a milestone in 2013 with more than a billion shipped, a survey showed Monday.
Samsung extended its lead as the world's biggest vendor, accounting for 31.3 per cent of sales, ahead of Apple's 15.3 per cent, according to the poll by market research and analysis firm IDC.
IDC said vendors delivered a total of 1.004 billion smartphones last year, up 38.4 per cent from 2012. And smartphones made up 55 per cent of the total mobile phone shipments of 1.8 billion.
"The sheer volume and strong growth attest to the smartphone's continued popularity in 2013," says Ramon Llamas, an IDC analyst.
"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."
South Korea's Samsung saw growth of 42.9 per cent, allowing it to extend its dominance in the global market, the IDC figures showed.
Apple saw 12.9 per cent growth, slower than the overall market, resulting in a declining market share.
China's Huawei narrowly captured the number three spot with a 4.9 per cent market share, ahead of South Korea's LG (4.8 per cent) and Chinese maker Lenovo (4.5 per cent), IDC said.
Data from the fourth quarter showed Apple rebounding slightly with the release of its new iPhone models, and capturing 17.9 per cent of sales to Samsung's 28.8 per cent.
A separate survey out Monday showed that the Android smartphone platform has extended its lead over Apple's iPhone in key markets including the United States, Europe and China.
Windows Phone, meanwhile, has made inroads to secure a strong third place showing in some markets, and is ahead of Apple in Italy, according to the survey of fourth quarter sales released by Kantar Worldpanel.
The survey showed that Android, the free operating system from Google, remained on top in Europe and most other major markets outside Japan.
Android ended 2013 as the top platform across the five major markets in Europe with 68.6 per cent share, while Apple held second place with 18.5 per cent.
Windows Phone showed strong year-on-year growth, and in Italy captured 17.1 per cent of the market, ahead of Apple's 12.8 per cent, but behind Android's 66.2 per cent, according to the survey.
In the United States, the survey showed Android's share rising more than four percentage points over the past year to 50.6 per cent, while Apple's share declined to 43.9 per cent.
In Japan, Apple held 68.7 per cent of smartphone sales.
In China, Android's share increased to 78.6 per cent while Apple's declined to 19 per cent.
"Android finished 2013 strongly, showing year-on-year share growth across 12 major global markets including Europe, USA, Latin America, China and Japan," said Kantar's Dominic Sunnebo.
"Windows Phone has now held double-digit share across Europe for three consecutive months," Sunnebo said.
But "unfortunately for Nokia the European smartphone market is only growing at three per cent year-on-year so success in this market has not been enough to turn around its fortunes - reflected in its recent disappointing results."