A whopping 1.2 billion smartphones will be shipped in 2014, representing an increase of 23.1 percent on 2013. Google's Android platform is expected to dominate the market.
The growth rate of smartphone shipments is also increasing, leading to the sale of a predicted 1.8 billion smartphones in 2018, based on figures from IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker research.
Android will dominate the demand for smartphones with a likely market share of 80.2 percent by the end of the year. This leaves Apple far behind in second place on 14.8 percent, and this will fall further to 13.7 percent in 2018.
Ramon Llamas, research manager at IDC, said that emerging markets in nations such as India, Indonesia, Russia and especially China are key to the predicted growth over the coming years.
"China will account for nearly a third of all smartphone shipments in 2018. These, and other markets, will offer multiple opportunities to vendors and carriers alike, but the key will be balancing affordability with expectations," he added.
The growth in demand from emerging markets will see Apple's iOS lose market share owing to the demand for cheaper handsets than Apple is able to offer.
Android currently offers the cheapest smartphones on the market with an average selling price of $254. The market average is $314.
This different demand for smartphones will leave room for new products to enter the market, according to IDC programme director Ryan Reith.
"Until recently, low cost has equalled poor quality in the smartphone space. Given the competition at the high end, vendors like Motorola are trying to skate to where the puck is going by offering extremely affordable devices like the Moto E, which offer a 'good enough' experience that will suit the needs of many," he said.
"This goes to show that components that were used two to three years back in high-end smartphones are still sufficient in many aspects, and ultimately will allow vendors to come to the table with viable low-cost solutions."
Meanwhile, the outlook is reasonable for Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Its volume is expected to grow by nearly 30 percent by 2018, no doubt helped by numerous new features announced at the firm's recent Build conference for Windows Phone 8.1.
This will see Windows Phone market share rise from 3.5 percent in 2014 to 6.4 percent. Finally, former leader BlackBerry looks destined to disappear as it falls from 0.8 percent in 2014 to a lowly 0.3 percent in 2018.
Another positive for Microsoft is the number of original equipment manufacturers the company has managed to get behind the platform, and the fact that it has now brought Nokia in-house after completing its acquisition earlier this year.
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