Firm: 2013 Was the Year of the Android, One Apple Wants to Forget

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Growth of global smartphone shipments fell slightly in 2013, indicating that highly saturated markets in the first world are beginning to inhibit the growth of smartphone makers.

According to research group Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 41 percent in 2013 to a record 990 million units. Despite all those smartphones being shipped for the year, the horizon seems to be darkening. Global smartphone shipment growth dropped from 43 percent in 2012 to 41 percent in 2013 “due to high penetration in some major markets like the United States,” the firm said.

Devices running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system dominated in 2013. Android devices accounted for 79 percent of the smartphone market share for the year, shipping 781.2 million units. Google’s Android operating system is used by many makers of low-cost smartphones geared toward emerging markets, which are seeing a higher rate of growth because those markets are not saturated like in first-world regions.

Android’s annual growth rate dropped to 62 percent in 2013, the lowest rate seen by the platform, but it still had the highest growth in the market. “There is little doubt that 2013 was the year of the Android,” Strategy Analytics reports.

All that growth for Android came at the expense of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. Apple only grew 13 percent during 2013, shipping 153.4 million units and taking a 15 percent market share. “Despite record volumes, 2013 is arguably a year that Apple will want to forget as growth slowed sharply and its new 5c model performed less strongly than expected,” the firm said.

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