Samsung Gains from Huawei’s Pain in Central and Eastern Europe’s Smartphone Market During Q2 2019

  • The new A-series was the star performer for Samsung as it accounted for nearly 70% of the OEMs’ shipments.
  • Seeking new markets for growth, Chinese brands have cranked up the aggression in the CEE market.

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

September 9, 2019

Samsung’s smartphone shipments in Central and Eastern Europe during Q2 2019 grew a significant 21% year-on-year (YoY), and 8% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), solidifying the OEM’s lead in the market, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service.

The growth in Samsung’s shipments came even as the overall smartphone market in CEE remained flat. Samsung benefitted from the drop in Huawei’s volumes after the US’ trade ban. Excellent traction for its refreshed A-series also helped the company’s performance in the region. Samsung ended the quarter with a 40% market share, twice that of its nearest competitor, Huawei.

Commenting on Samsung’s performance, Peter Richardson, Research Director said, “Samsung has been the main beneficiary of the drop in Huawei (and Honor) volumes, as it could offer a comparable range of smartphones and fill the portfolio gaps with its recent launches under the A-series. The refreshed A-series was the star performer for Samsung. Nearly 70% of Samsung’s shipments came from the A-series. Specs like triple camera, in-display fingerprint, excellent build quality, AMOLED display, and more, at competitive prices, helped the A-series capture a significant share in the market. Samsung’s Galaxy A50 was the most successful individual model. Apart from capturing volumes from Huawei, Samsung also won some share from local brands.”

Although Samsung has a sizeable lead in the CEE smartphone market, it needs to brace itself for the competition from Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Realme (HOVXR). As smartphone sales stagnate in their home market, Chinese brands are actively seeking new regions for growth. HOVXR have been particularly aggressive in the CEE region, when it comes to new launches, the opening of flagship stores, marketing and more.

Chinese brands as a whole, grew 11% YoY and 5% QoQ in Q2 2019, despite the decline of Huawei’s volumes. Xiaomi, in particular, has been doing well in the region and is now a firm number three, ahead of Apple. Its volumes grew at a healthy rate of 33% YoY and 69% QoQ. It was also a beneficiary of the US’ trade ban on Huawei. New launches like Redmi 7A and the Mi 9T helped it gain share. Xiaomi has also been very aggressive in Russia and plans to open more than 100 stores across the country by the end of 2019.

Commenting on the Chinese brands, Abhilash Kumar, Research Analyst said, “People in Central and Eastern Europe prefer buying low-mid tier phones. This has been advantageous for Chinese brands that have a huge portfolio in these price bands. Chinese brands, apart from Huawei, grew fast from a low base, 50% YoY and 70% QoQ. Brands like OPPO, Vivo, OnePlus, and ZTE are snatching away market share from local brands. However, their shares remain small and most continue to be outside the top five in terms of market share.”


Commenting on the overall dynamics of the market, Shobhit Srivastava, Research Analyst said, “CEE is no exception to the global trend of declining market share of local brands. Their share is compromised as global and Chinese players offer better specs at competitive prices due to economies of scale. Local brands saw a steep decline of 74% YoY in shipments as users switched to Chinese and global brands for better specifications. Local brands are now mostly confined to feature phones, where they are facing tough competition from global brands like Nokia HMD and Philips.”

Market Summary:

  • CEE accounts for 5% of the global smartphone shipments and 37% of the total smartphone shipments in Europe.
  • US$100-US$249 is the preferred price band for consumers in CEE.
  • More than 80% of smartphone shipments are phablets.
  • Top five OEMs account for more than 80% of the smartphone shipment.
  • Amid the US-China trade war, Huawei group’s shipments declined 11% YoY and 22% QoQ.
  • Feature phone shipments grew 11% YoY
  • Every sixth phone shipped is a feature phone.

The comprehensive and in-depth Q2 2019 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. The service includes handset shipments from 140+ brands across 60+ countries quarterly.  Please feel free to contact us at press(at) for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press inquiries.

Press release contact:

Peter Richardson

Shobhit Srivastava

Abhilash Kumar

Counterpoint Research


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