Touchscreen smartphone with Earth globeAccording to the latest industry data shared by Gartner, sales of smartphones in emerging markets exhibited the highest growth on record last quarter, spiking global smartphone sales to an unprecedented perch.

Although worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users were flat in the third quarter of 2014, total sales of smartphones to end users grew 20.3 percent to reach 301 million units.

In short, while feature phones continue to lose their luster among current or prospective mobile device owners, smartphones are white hot today and only growing hotter.

“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,” says Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

In Q3 of 2014, smartphones made up 66 percent of the total mobile phone market. The most up-to-date estimates indicate that by 2018, 90% of all phones will be smartphones.

“Over the holidays we expect record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but we should not underestimate the Chinese vendors and local brands,” adds Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. “Chinese players will continue to look at expanding in overseas emerging markets. In Europe prepaid country markets and attractive lost-cost LTE phones will also offer key opportunities for these brands.” Gartner expects sales of smartphones to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014.