Strong demand for phablets and the continued popularity of the iPhone 6 in Australia helped fuel a 29.2 per cent jump in smartphone shipments in Q1.

Apple’s market share leapt to almost 50 per cent as shipments surged 66 per cent, according to IDC.

Phablets accounted for 41 per cent of the 2.32 million smartphones shipped during the quarter. Phablet adoption picked up pace in Q3 with the introduction of the iPhone 6 Plus. The market share of phablets was just 9 per cent in Q3 last year.

With more phablet models coming to Australia this year, including the Microsoft Lumia 540XL and LG G4, by the end of the year one in two smartphones sold are likely to be a phablet, said Joseph Hsiao, market analyst at IDC Australia.

Apple’s market share in the country during the quarter expanded to 49 per cent from 38 per cent a year ago, while Samsung’s dropped to 31 per cent from 40 per cent. HTC and Microsoft each had a 3 per cent share. Samsung’s shipments declined 1 per cent, HTC’s fell 3 per cent and Microsoft’s dropped 6 per cent.

The research firm said momentum was also seen in the entry-level segment, with brisk demand for models such as the Telstra Tempo and Rush, both priced below AUD100 ($77).

Mobile operators ran aggressive campaigns to stimulate contract renewal and new business. IDC said the main value proposition driving the promotions was increased data allowances across different price plans.

Several existing flagship models also became available at a lower monthly plan, including the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8. This pre-emptive move was to prepare for flagship launches in Q2.

According to a new report from researchacma, 12 per cent of adult Australians were exclusively mobile at the end of last year, with no fixed-line telephone or fixed internet connection at home. This is up from 10 per cent in December 2013.

Another 29 per cent of adults were mobile-only phone users, with no fixed-line telephone at home.