For the first time ever, one billion smartphones have been shipped in one year, marking a huge milestone for mobile.

According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), vendors shipped more than a billion smartphones in 2013, up 38.4% from the 725.3 million devices shipped in 2012.

“It’s hard to find any other industry growing at such dramatic increases — the fact that we are seeing this heavy growth shows there is still a huge demand for smartphones,” Ramon T. Llamas, research manager of mobile phones at IDC, told Mashable. “Only two years ago, we had half a billion units, so it’s a testament to how popular smartphones are and how competitive the market is right now.”

The top driving trends in smartphones are the growth of large screen size and cost.

[tweetable]”The phablet market — smartphones with screens that are five inches in size of greater — is only going to get bigger,”[/tweetable] Llamas said. “

At the end of the last year, about 18% of smartphones were phablets, up from 7% from the year before

At the end of the last year, about 18% of smartphones were phablets, up from 7% from the year before, and this year it could hit 25%. That reveals it’s still a niche market — large screens are not for everyone — but there is clearly a market for these things.”

Llamas said the smartphone industry will likely continue to grow in the next year, but will slow down in the years to follow.

“Growth will plateau at some point. Probably not this year, but in the next five or six years,” he said. “We’ve already reached saturation in the U.S., so there will be slower growth in the future.”

Samsung was the clear leader in global smartphone shipments in 2013, thanks to demand related to the Galaxy S III, S4 and Note. Although Apple experienced record shipment volume in the fourth quarter, due largely to bringing its iPhone 5S and 5C devices to new international markets, the company had the lowest year-over-year increase of all leading vendors. Huawei ranked third for the year, followed by LG and Lenovo, despite not having a presence in North America or Western Europe.

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