Given the fast pace of smartphone sales growth and declining preference for feature phones, Gartner estimates that nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones by 2018. Gartner expects sales of smartphones to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014.
    
"Sales of feature phones declined 25 percent in the third quarter of 2014 because the difference in price between feature phones and low-cost Android smartphones is reducing further," Gartner Research Director Roberta Cozza said.
    
However, sales of smartphones to end users grew 20.3 percent to reach 301 million units, she added.
    
Emerging markets exhibited some of the highest growths ever recorded with Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa registering the highest increase in the third quarter of 2014, with sales of smartphones growing almost 50 percent year-over-year.
    
Among the mature markets, the US achieved the highest growth at 18.9 percent, fostered by the launch of the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus.
    
Western Europe saw a decline of 5.2 percent, the third consecutive decline this year.
     
Samsung continued to lead the market but its share fell from 32.1 percent in July-September 2013 to 24.4 percent in the third quarter of 2014.
    
Apple (12.7 percent), Huawei (5.3 percent) and Xiaomi (5.2 percent) followed in the list.
    
"With the ability to undercut cost and offer top specs Chinese brands are well positioned to expand in the premium phone market too and address the needs of upgrade users that aspire to premium phones, but cannot afford Apple or Samsung high-end products," Cozza said.
    
In the smartphone OS market, Android continued to lead the market with 83.1 percent share, followed by iOS (12.7 percent), Windows (3 percent) and BlackBerry (0.8 percent) in the said quarter.
    
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 455.8 million units in the third quarter of 2014 and were flat compared to the same period in 2013.
    
Mobile phone sales were up in all regions except Latin America (-7.4 percent), Western Europe (-13.5 percent) and Japan (-1.8 percent).
    
Samsung had 20.6 percent share of the overall mobile phone market, followed by Microsoft Devices (9.5 percent), Apple (8.4 percent), LG (4.2 percent) and Huawei (3.6 percent).