Worldwide smartphone shipments are tipped to surpass one billion, according to research firm IDC.
Shipments are 39 per cent up from those in 2012, said IDC, with demand mostly focused in emerging markets, as more traditional markets hit saturation point.
IDC points to the decline in average selling price (ASP) as one of the big drivers. The ASP for the end of 2013 is predicted to be US$337, down 12.8 per cent from last year. These low prices are making smartphones a viable option against the traditional feature phone.
Predictions for 2017 say that the ASP will drop to US$265 and shipments of smartphones will hit 1.7 billion.
"The game has changed quite drastically due to the decline in smartphone ASPs," IDC program director Ryan Reith said in a statement. "Just a few years back, the industry was talking about the next billion people to connect, and it was assumed the majority of these people would do so by way of the feature phone. Given the trajectory of ASPs, smartphones are now a very realistic option to connect those billion users."