London, Hong Kong, Boston, Toronto, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – February 23, 2022
The European smartphone market is slowly on the road to recovery. With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly in sight, and despite new challenges around component shortages, the market registered a 1% annual rise in smartphone shipments in 2021, a reversal of the 7% annual decline recorded in 2020.
This modest growth, while a positive sign, is nevertheless a reminder that the region’s smartphone market is still not back to full strength, with shipments well below 2019 levels. Having said that, some vendors certainly had a year to celebrate.
Europe smartphone market rebounded in 2021 after a difficult 2020
Counterpoint Research’s Associate Director, Jan Stryjak said “given the difficulties – both supply- and demand-side – that vendors faced in 2020, it is unsurprising that most posted good growth in Europe in 2021. The pick of the bunch, however, was realme, which had its best year since entering the region and was, by a fair margin, the fastest growing major brand in Europe in 2021. realme has gone from strength to strength in Europe. It entered the market in June 2019 and quickly found favour with its ‘flagship killer’ approach, offering high-spec devices at competitive prices.”
realme’s shipments grew six-fold in 2020 compared to 2019, and realme succeeded in building a European base with its affordable devices, especially in Eastern Europe (most notably Poland and the Czech Republic) and price-conscious Western European markets such as Italy, Greece and Spain.
The success of realme GT series and Number series helped drive realme to new heights in Europe, with 280% annual growth in 2021 as the fastest growing smartphone brand in Europe, overtaking OPPO (70% annual growth in 2021), Xiaomi (43%), Apple (10%) and Samsung (2%).
realme is the fastest growing brand in Europe
Its growth in the last year means realme has established itself as a top five vendor in Europe, climbing five places in 2021 by overtaking Wiko, Motorola, Alcatel, HONOR and Huawei. And things could get even better: realme saw a significant jump in shipments in Europe in Q4 2021, accounting for just under 6% of the region’s total smartphone shipments (up from 2.5% in Q3 2021). So, the trajectory is looking very promising for realme.
realme climbed five places in 2021
Speaking about realme’s short-term strategy, Counterpoint Research’s Senior Analyst, Harmeet Singh Walia said “having established itself as a key affordable brand in Europe, realme’s next goal is to increase its profit margins by further pushing premium devices. The upcoming launch of its GT2 series at MWC22 is a step in this direction, helping boost realme’s differentiation, brand equity and a halo effect to attract users looking to upgrade to high-tier or entry premium-tier devices. Its challenge will be to convince customers who are used to purchasing from established brands, and in this regard, Europe is a tough nut to crack. realme will be up against not just Apple and Samsung, but from fellow Chinese brands like Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo who are all also looking to gain a bigger share of the European pie.”
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
Harmeet Singh Walia
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