Global smartphone shipments have risen 38.8% during the third quarter of 2013 to 258.4 million units, setting up a new record for units shipments in a single quarter by over 9%, a new Gartner report revealed.
During the quarter, the overall mobile phone shipments including smartphones reached 467.9 million units, up 5.7% from corresponding quarter the earlier year and up 7% compared to 2Q13.
IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker programme director Ryan Reith said that the third quarter was up substantially over the previous quarter, which was also a record quarter for shipments, showing the real momentum of the smartphone market.
"Price points have declined significantly, driven largely by low-cost Android solutions," Reith said.
"This has helped China to become one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, accounting for more than one third of all shipments last quarter.
"We expect this trend to continue going forward."
According to the research firm, the Android smartphone platform has generated immense opportunities for new vendors enter into the smartphone space and, sequentially, has created new competitive pressures at the top of the market.
IDC Mobile Phone team research manager Ramon Llamas said that beyond Samsung and Apple at the top of the rankings is a tight race of vendors trying to break out from the pack.
"In 3Q13, Chinese vendors Huawei and Lenovo moved past LG, and not far behind are two more Chinese companies, Coolpad and ZTE. Any of these vendors could change position again next quarter," Llamas said.
"But in addition to having close shipment volumes, they all have one key ingredient in common: Android.
"This has been a huge factor in their success, but it also speaks to the challenges of differentiation on the world's most popular platform."
Samsung topped the list of global smartphone vendors with highest shipments of 81.2 million, which is more than the next four vendors combined, followed by Apple (33.8 million), Huawei (12.5 million), Lenovo (12.3 million) and LG (12 million).
"Looking ahead, we anticipate strong momentum going into the fourth quarter, and another record quarter and year in the worldwide smartphone market," Llamas added.
"With already strong growth in 3Q13 and multiple vendors launching flagship models, the market will be poised to reach one billion units for the year.
"It's a significant milestone considering the market shipped just half a billion units in 2011.
"Moving forward, what remains to be seen is how the various companies and platforms will stay differentiated and relevant in the increasingly competitive market."
According to another report from Juniper Research, Nokia sold 8.8 million Lumia devices while its overall smartphone shipments reached 15 million, including the Asha line-up.
According to the report smartphone shipments exceeded a quarterly record of 250 million in Q3 2013, recording a year on year growth of 49% and quarter on quarter growth of 10%.
Juniper forecasts that Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the global smartphone market shipping 17% more units in 2018 than the number of smartphones shipped globally by all vendors in 2012.