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European smartphone market decline continues despite Chinese growth

Paul Lipscombe
May 23, 2019

Europe accounted for 14.5 per cent of total global smartphone sales in the first quarter of the year, as Chinese brands flourished in the region with sales up 39 per cent YoY 

The European smartphone market has continued its decline according to Counterpoint Research, with sales down three per cent year-on-year (YoY).

Longer handset lifecycles and a perceived lack of innovation from consumers has contributed to the slump, as European sales were also down 20 per cent for the quarter.

Huawei’s market share grew from 15 per cent in Q1 2018 to 26 per cent for the first quarter of this year, with Samsung’s up one per cent to 31 per cent during the same period.

Apple’s market share however dropped two per cent to 21pc YoY, with Xiaomi sitting fourth with four per market share.

5G could spark the revival in the market according to Counterpoint Research research director Peter Richardson but he doesn’t expect it to happen this year.

“Some people are waiting for 5G services. Commercialisation of 5G is starting in European operators such as Swisscom and Sunrise in Switzerland. However, we think the impact on the market in 2019 will be modest,” said Richardson.

East vs West

Apple retained top spot for market share of Western Europe with 30pc share followed closely by Samsung (28pc) and Huawei (23pc) as premium brands dominated despite a slower market.

Despite a declining Western European market there was some growth in the Eastern Europe, mainly due to strong sales in Russia, Czech Republic, Turkey and Poland.

Chinese manufacturer Huawei in particular gained share in the region, jumping from 11pc last year to 29 per cent for the Q1 2019. Apple’s share dropped down to nine per cent from 14pc in Q1 2018.

However Counterpoint Research anticipate the recent restrictions imposed on Huawei’s use of Google Mobile Services will have a “potentially significant impact on the competitive landscape in Europe during the coming quarters.”

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