Samsung overtakes Nokia as Europe’s top mobile seller

6 May 2011

Samsung has overtaken Nokia as the biggest mobile phone maker in Western Europe with almost 30pc marketshare. In terms of smartphones specifically, Apple now commands nearly 50pc of Europe’s mobile market.

During the quarter Samsung shipments increased 5.3pc year-on-year to 13.2 million units and became the biggest mobile phone maker in the region with 29.3pc market share. Nokia shipments dropped 10.3pc year-on-year to 12.6 million units and is now the second player with 27.9pc market share.

In the smartphones segment, Apple shipments increased 48.9pc year-on-year to 4.4 million units and became the biggest player with 20.8pc market share. Nokia comes second with 19.6pc market share.

“Samsung and Apple achieved outstanding milestones this quarter in the region. Samsung became the biggest mobile phone vendor in Western Europe and Apple the biggest smartphone vendor,” explained Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager at IDC.

“These results show how volatile this market is and how important it is not to underestimate the trends. Companies like Nokia (and Ericsson in the past) may have strong brands and big market shares as Nokia always had, but can be overtaken by their competitors on a blink of an eye.

“Nokia is one of the most recognised and appreciated brands in Europe, but Samsung was the one understanding the trends first and moving faster. Samsung understood early the trend on touchscreen devices and became the market leader on feature-phones by providing a full range of devices at very competitive prices.

“On smartphones, Samsung has quickly moved to Android as well as investing in its own platform, Bada. Flexibility and being able to address all market segments have contributed to Samsung’s ability to quickly adjust to the market trends. Apple, on the other hand, coming from nowhere in the mobile phone business, capitalized on its strong brand and user-experience innovation. It took years for competitors to come up with devices that could challenge consumers’ preference for the iPhone,” Jeronimo said.

Global smartphone market grows 79.7pc

According to IDC the worldwide smartphone market grew almost 80pc year over year in the first quarter driven by vendors releasing highly anticipated models, widespread availability of older smartphones at lower prices and sustained end-user demand.

Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 99.6m units during the first quarter of 2010. In the global smartphone segment Nokia retained first place with a 24.3pc share having shipped 24.2m units.

Apple was in second place with 18.7pc of the market, up 114.4pc on the year. Research in Motion was in third place with 14pc global marketshare followed by Samsung which has 10.8pc of the world’s smartphone market and HTC which has 8.9pc marketshare.

“Conditions in the smartphone market are creating a perfect storm for sustained smartphone growth,” says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team.

“First, vendors are increasingly emphasizing smartphones as the key to their own growth. Second, selection has proliferated from mostly high-end devices to include more mid-range and entry-level offerings.

“Third, pricing has become increasingly competitive, with even high-end devices available at low price points. Finally, users continue to seek greater utility from their mobile phone beyond voice, and smartphones have been the ideal solution. Altogether, these add up to continued smartphone growth throughout the year,” Llamos said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years