Over a Billion Smartphones Shipped in 2013? Depends Who You Ask

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Depending in which report you choose to read smartphones sales may have exceeded a billion units last year or maybe they didn't.

IDC says they did, while Strategy Analytics said they didn't, although at 990 million handsets shipped, they certainly came very close.

The easiest thing is to compare the two tables.

Vendor Strategy Analytics IDC
Samsung 319.8 313.9
Apple 153.4 153.4
Huawei 50.4 48.8
LG 47.6 47.7
Lenovo 45.5 45.5
Others 373.3 394.9
Tot­al 990.0 1004.2

Both firms agreed on which order the top 5 vendors appeared in, but differed slightly on the volumes from the companies that don't always give detailed information about their product shipments.

Apple and Lenovo have given actual numbers, while Samsung, LG, Huawei and the rest have to be inferred to from 3rd-party sources. The most significant difference between the two research firms is in the "others" category, which can generally be taken to imply the low-cost Chinese Android producers as well as some other regional manufacturers.

There is also the issue that the two research firms may disagree on whether a cheap smartphone is actually a smartphone, or an expensive feature phone.

So, last year the phone industry may have shipped over a billion smartphones for the first time, or maybe that will take place this year. It all depends on who you ask.

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