Smartphone sales reached new heights in 2014, topping 1.2 billion units globally, according to the IT research firm Gartner, Inc. That represents a 28.4% increase over the previous year’s global sales.
Smartphones accounted for two out of every three mobile phones sold in 2014. Although Samsung remained the industry leader in annual smartphone sales, Apple took the top spot in the fourth quarter of 2014, selling 74.8 million devices to Samsung’s 73 million, Gartner reported in March 2015.
By comparison, Apple sold 50.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2013 and Samsung sold 83.3 million.
Year-over-year, Samsung saw its market share of worldwide smartphone sales fall from 30.9% to 24.7%, while Apple’s was largely unchanged at 15.4% in 2014.
Apple’s end-of-year surge was attributed to the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which resulted in its best sales quarter ever. Apple’s new devices featured larger screens, rivaling similar products previously released by its competitors.
Google’s Android was the dominant operating system in 2014, representing nearly 81% of market share compared to the 15.4% share of Apple’s iOS, with Microsoft and BlackBerry accounting for a fraction of the market.
The fierce battle for supremacy in smartphone sales is a direct reflection of consumer demand.
In February 2015, Cisco reported that global mobile data traffic jumped by 69% in 2014, with video accounting for more than half of that data traffic.
Worldwide, the number of mobile devices and connections increased to 7.4 billion in 2014, up from the previous year’s 6.9 billion, according to the networking technology company. The majority of that increase, 88%, was attributed to smartphones. Last year was the first time that the number of mobile-connected devices exceeded the world’s population
Also in 2014, mobile connection speeds increased by 20% and fourth-generation, or 4G, connections generated 10 times more data traffic on average than non-4G connections, Cisco reported. The burgeoning advent of wearable devices also gained traction, with 109 million devices estimated around the world.
Looking to the future, Cisco estimates that by 2019 global mobile data traffic will increase tenfold, there will be an estimated 11.5 billion mobile-connected devices in use and nearly three-fourths of the world’s global data traffic will be video-based.