Windows Phone captures 10pc of smartphone sales in Europe’s top markets

4 Nov 2013

The Nokia Lumia 610

Windows Phone now makes up one in 10 smartphone purchases across the five major European markets, has overtaken iOS in Italy and is gaining momentum in emerging markets, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

The big five European markets include UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Kantar reported that Android remains the dominant operating system across Europe with 71.9pc, up 4.2pc on last year.

Windows Phone, driven almost entirely by Nokia sales, continues to make rapid progress in Europe and has also shown signs of growth in emerging markets, such as Latin America. 

“With the smartphone market in developed countries so congested, it is emerging economies that now present manufacturers with the best opportunity for growth,” said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

“Nokia dominated in Latin America for many years, and while its popularity declined with the fortunes of Symbian it now has an opportunity to regain the top spot. The majority of consumers in Latin America still own a Nokia featurephone and upgrading to an entry-level Lumia is a logical next step. Price is the main barrier in developing markets and the budget Lumia 520 opens the door to smartphone ownership for many.”

In the UK, Windows accounts for 11.4pc of the market. Android is still the No 1 operating system, with 58.4pc, while BlackBerry now only has 3.1pc. Apple’s iOS has dipped by 1.0 percentage point to 27.0pc, although it is expected to strengthen at Christmas. 

Product lull rocks the Apple cart

“August is traditionally a quiet month for Apple as consumers wait for the release of new models, and strong sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c at the end of September did not manage to make up for the lull,” Sunnebo said. 

“The full impact of the new iPhones will be seen at Christmas, when iOS is expected to bounce back strongly in Britain, the US and Australia.”

China is increasingly dominated by Android, which accounts for 81.1pc of the market, up 14.6 percentage points from last year. 

Domestic manufacturers made up 44pc of smartphone sales in the latest period, compared to just 30pc the previous year. Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo and Coolpad handsets are particularly popular outside of China’s largest cities and represent a more value-for-money option than global brands. 

“Chinese consumers are prepared to make a huge investment in their smartphone, with some spending up to 70pc of their monthly salary on a new device. With such a high investment, Chinese consumers want to get the best value for money and are increasingly opting for a high-spec local brand over a low-spec global equivalent. 

“The message for global manufacturers is clear – Chinese consumers demand value, and overpriced entry-levels models no longer cut it against increasingly impressive local competition,” Sunnebo said.

Kantar smartphone sales 2013

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