Smartphone sales reached an all time high in 2014, market analyst GfK reports. Climbing 23% year on year, the billion mark was crossed for the first time, and by a long margin at that, reaching 1.228 billion units sold. It's also an actual representation of devices making it to users' hands, as opposed to other reports, which take into account smartphones shipped by the manufacturers.
The market growth was largely driven by Latin America, where smartphone sales soared, nearly reaching 110M, a 59% increase compared to 2013. The sales value in the region rose accordingly to $31.4B over the previous year's $20.6B, for a 52% difference.
The other market that sees a significant increase in smartphones sold is the emerging Asia Pacific region. What has to be noted there is that the 55% rise in units sold does not translate in respective increase in sales value, where the change is only half that at 27%.
Another trend, marked in the report, shows a significant shift towards larger screens, with a whopping 180% growth in sales of devices packing 5-inch and larger displays. It's also predicted to be the segment with a greatest market share this year.
The forecast for 2015 is less optimistic though. The analyst predicts that market saturation will lead to a decline in growth, but still a 14% increase in units sold is expected, resulting in a 1.368B figure. The price segment above $150 will witness a decline, while more affordable sub-$100 devices will be on the rise. The $100-$150 bracket is expected to maintain its momentum.