Demand for smartphones in emerging markets will help drive growth in global shipments this year to 23.8 per cent for a total of 1.25 billion devices shipped, International Data Corp. said Thursday. The research company said in a press release that mature markets, which include Canada, the United States, Japan and Western Europe, will account for 26.5 per cent of the market this year and 4.9 per cent of growth, while emerging markets, which include Central and Eastern Europe, Asia/Pacific (minus Japan), Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, will be where 73.5 per cent of smartphone shipments go and account for 32.4 per cent growth. IDC noted the dominance that lower-priced smartphones powered by Google Inc.'s software has in emerging markets, noting they will account for 88.4 per cent of smartphones shipped to these markets this year. "The support that Google's Android platform has received from over 150 handset manufacturers has allowed it to gain the share it has in emerging markets," Ryan Reith, IDC's director for quarterly mobile phone data, said in a statement. "The lack of constraints around hardware and software specifications has helped bring to market many low-cost products, a lot of which could be considered borderline junk. With Google's recent announcement of Android One, they hope to change this by laying out a set of standards for manufacturers to follow." IDC forecast that 1.8 billion smartphones would be sold in 2018, with annual growth slowing to 7.1 per cent by then and emerging markets' share growing to 79.5 per cent.