The European Smartphone Market Declined 3% YoY in Q1 2019

While overall smartphone sales declined 3% annually, Chinese brands grew a record 39% YoY in the European market.

Seoul, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego

May 21st, 2019

Smartphone sales declined 3% year-on-year (YoY) and 20% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) in Europe during Q1 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse service. The findings of the research reveal that growth in smartphone sales in Eastern Europe was marginal while there was a 6% YoY decline in Western Europe.

Commenting on the overall market, Peter Richardson, Research Director said, “The smartphone market declined mainly due to a lengthening replacement cycle and lack of innovation in new models. Some people are waiting for 5G services. Commercialization of 5G is starting in Europe operators such as Swisscom and Sunrise in Switzerland. However, we think the impact on the market in 2019 will be modest.”


Commenting on the growth of Chinese brands, Abhilash Kumar, Research Analyst said “Chinese brands accounted for 30% of the total smartphone sales in Europe during Q1 2019. Huawei grew a massive 70% YoY with the help of its co-brand HONOR. OPPO and Xiaomi are also very aggressive and are strengthening their base in the European market.”

Strong sales in Russia, Czech Republic, Turkey, and Poland were the prime reason for some growth in Eastern Europe, despite the overall regional decline. Apple’s share in Eastern Europe declined to 9% in Q1 2019 from 14% in Q1 2018 whereas for Huawei, its share grew to 29% in Q1 2019 from 11% in Q1 2018. The Eastern European market switched to Huawei (along with co-brand HONOR) because of consumers’ love for budget-friendly phones.

In Western Europe, Huawei consumed the share of smaller players including local brands. Despite Huawei’s strong share growth, Samsung gained share thanks to the positive acceptance of its refreshed Galaxy A series and S series smartphones. Sales of Huawei were particularly high in Germany, UK, and Italy.

The recent action by the US to limit sales of certain hardware and software to Huawei, including Google Mobile Services (GMS) for Android, will have a potentially significant impact on the competitive landscape in Europe during the coming quarters.

Market Summary:

  • Four out of five handsets sold in Europe are smartphones.
  • Europe accounted for 14.5% of the total global smartphone sales in Q1 2019.
  • 84% of the total smartphone market was captured by the top 5 players.
  • Around one-fourth of Samsung’s and Huawei’s global sales come from Europe.
  • Chinese brands account for 30% of the total smartphone sales in Europe.
  • Huawei grew a massive 70% YoY with the help of its co-brand HONOR.
  • Xiaomi is aggressive about growing its European market presence and it plans to triple its store base by the end of 2019.

Analyst Contacts:

Peter Richardson

Abhilash Kumar

Counterpoint Research