Global Smartphone Shipments Topped 1.2 Billion Last Year

Juniper Research figures show Apple closing in on Samsung’s lead in the smartphone market

The number of smartphones sold around the world topped the 1.2 billion mark in 2014, new research has found.

Figures from analyst firm Juniper Research estimate a 29 percent growth compared to the previous year, primarily driven by consumer demand for the latest powerful devices, including Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 75 million of which were sold in just the last three months of the year.

Overall, 375 million smartphones were sold worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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Despite these incredible sales figures from Apple, Juniper Research estimates that Samsung remains the number one seller of smartphones in the world, with its 315 million devices sold accounting for 25 percent of the overall market.

However, this dominance could soon be challenged by Apple in particular, as consumers in China drive higher demand for the devices.

Overall, the Cupertino-based company held 15 percent of the total smartphone market, with Juniper predicting this will only increase next year. A separate report from the firm earlier this week predicted that so-called ‘phablet’ devices such as the iPhone 6 Plus will see a major increase in sales over the next few years, as consumers increasingly turn to larger-screen devices for watching video content and playing games..

It estimates that 138 million such devices will be sold worldwide this year, rising to more than 400 million phablets shipping by 2019, equivalent to around 20 percent of the overall mobile device market.

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The report also had encouraging results for some of the other manufacturers looking to challenge Apple and Samsung.

In third place behind the two titans was the combined force of Lenovo-Motorola, which was estimated to have shipped over 90m smartphones in 2014, improving its market share to just over 7 percent.

Next came Huawei, another company which managed to improved its market share year on year, shipping over 70 million smartphones in 2014, with the Honor line of devices accounting for nearly 28% of the total.

However there was disappointment for Microsoft, which only reported 10.5 million Lumia shipments in Q4 2014, primarily low-cost models, suggesting it has a way to go if it wants to challenge in the smartphone market.

What do you remember about the smartphones of 2014? Try our quiz!