Europe’s Mid tier smartphone battle rages on

Huawei’s near departure from the European market, which began around 12 months ago, left a vacuum waiting to be filled. Various relatively new entrants to the European market – Xiaomi, OPPO, OnePlus, realme and vivo – joined the battle to capture market share once belonging to Huawei.

Growth moving up the price tiers

Huawei’s sweet spot was affordable devices, with a vast majority of its smartphones selling for less than $250. However, there has not been a like-for-like replacement, but rather a shift up the price tiers. Growth in Europe over the last year has come from devices selling between $250 and $700, a range which encompasses the Mid and Affordable Premium price tiers. This is despite the economic strain many consumers found themselves facing thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Competition in these Mid and Affordable Premium tiers has grown considerably: “new” vendors (i.e., Xiaomi, OPPO and OnePlus) now account for over a third of sales across these segments; a four-fold increase in a year. These “new” vendors are also now giving Samsung worthy competition when it comes to Android flagships. Xiaomi, OPPO, OnePlus, realme and vivo all released impressive new flagship devices in the first half of 2021.

Counterpoint Research Europe Smartphone Sales by Vendor

Mid-tier growth to continue

Growing competition is not only giving consumer more choice, but is also helping bring down the cost of 5G devices: 5G accounted for over half of Mid tier smartphones sold in Europe in Q1 2021, up from a fifth in Q3 2020 and zero a year ago.

We expect the Mid tier to be a key growth area in the medium term as competition continues to intensify. And a growing list of impressive high-end devices – including foldables – launched by challenger brands should start to impact Samsung and Apple’s Premium tier dominance soon.

These insights and more are available in our recently published report “Europe’s competitive landscape: the Mid tier battle rages on.”

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