In a recent report by market analysts Counterpoint Research, European smartphone shipments have reached unprecedented lows. The data paints a concerning picture of the smartphone market in the region, with significant declines across Western and Eastern Europe.
Dramatic Decline in Q2 2023
Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor Service reveals a startling 12% year-on-year decline in European smartphone shipments for the second quarter of 2023. This marks the lowest quarterly shipment volume recorded since the first quarter of 2012. The smartphone market in Western Europe, in particular, saw a substantial 14% decline, while Eastern Europe, already grappling with challenges, experienced an 8% drop in shipments.
Russia’s Exceptional Growth
In stark contrast to the broader European trend, Russia witnessed a 4% year-on-year growth in smartphone shipments. However, this growth is not indicative of an improved market or increased purchasing power among Russian consumers. Instead, it can be attributed to the unique circumstances of Q2 2022 when the country’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent exit of major smartphone players from the market had a significant impact.
Xiaomi emerged as the market leader in Russia during this period, with realme securing the second position. The rising Chinese manufacturer experienced a remarkable 12% year-on-year growth, commanding 55% of the brand’s shipments in the region. Counterpoint Research suggests that realme’s success can be largely attributed to the exit of Samsung and Apple from the Russian market. Impressively, this marks the fifth consecutive quarter during which realme has maintained the second position and steadily closed the gap with Xiaomi, the market leader.
HONOR’s Modest Growth
Another notable player in the European smartphone landscape, HONOR, managed to achieve a 9% year-on-year growth despite the challenging market conditions.
Challenges in the Smartphone Market
The smartphone market in Europe has faced substantial challenges in recent years. With new models offering only incremental improvements and nearly identical form factors across manufacturers, the “wow” factor of new smartphones has diminished. Consequently, consumers are increasingly turning to used and refurbished devices. While foldable devices hold promise, they have yet to capture the interest of the majority of consumers.
The latest data from Counterpoint Research paints a sobering picture of the European smartphone market, with shipments hitting record lows. While Russia stands out as an exception with its growth, the broader industry faces tough challenges, including consumer fatigue with incremental changes in smartphones. The market’s future may hinge on innovations that rekindle the excitement of consumers.