More than a billion smartphones were sold worldwide in 2014, according to research firm Gartner.
Figures show 1.2 billion units were sold across the world, which is a 29.9% increase from 2013.
This represents two-thirds of the global mobile market as the sales of feature phones continue to decline.
This trend has grown over the past few years as the number of low-cost options available has seen smartphone sales increase in emerging markets.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, Apple overtook Samsung in the smartphone market, knocking it off from the top spot, which it has held since 2011.
Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said: "With Apple dominating the premium phone market and the Chinese vendors increasingly offering quality hardware at lower prices, it is through a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to Samsung devices that Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market."
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- Worldwide unit sales of smartphone hardware exceeded 1.2bn in 2014, but in mature markets, such as the UK, average selling prices have begun to drop
- More payments in the UK will be made using smartphones than on credit or debit cards by 2020, according to 33% of Brits
- More than half of mobile users are unaware that hackers can take control of their smartphones, according to research by Kaspersky
The launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus boosted Apple’s sales as the new smartphone and format pushed the renewal cycle for iOS devices.
The new phone’s larger screen format pushed sales in China and the US, and the firm posted a record quarterly net profit of $18bn for the last quarter of 2014.
Samsung has seen a drop in smartphone revenue over recent months and, according to Gartner, the firm lost almost 10% of its market share in the final quarter of 2014.
But the supplier has recently announced it will be taking on Apple in the payments market as it launches its own smartphone payments plans to rival Apple Pay.
Chinese suppliers also dominated the smartphone sales tables, with Xiamoi, Lenovo and Huawei catching up with the big suppliers with their low-cost offerings for emerging markets.
CEA industry analyst Steve Koenig predicted International CES 2015 that these low-cost handsets from China will lead to 75% of the smartphone market in 2015 being attributed to emerging spaces.
Worldwide smartphone sales to users by supplier in 2014 (thousands of units)
|2014 Market Share (%)||
|2013 Market Share (%)|
Source: Gartner (March 2015)
*The results for Lenovo include sales of mobile phones by Lenovo and Motorola.