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The European smartphone market fell 3% in the fourth quarter of 2023

21. 02. 2024 Wednesday / By: Robert Denes / Business / Exact time: BST / Print this page

A ccording to Canalys' latest research, smartphone shipments to Europe (excluding Russia) fell by 3% to 37.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2023. - for 12.4 million pieces. Samsung took second place, falling 12% to 10.8 million units, offset by solid S-series and mid-range A-series shipments.

Samsung was the largest manufacturer in 2023. Xiaomi defended its third position despite falling 10% to 6.0 million units, bolstered by positive momentum in Central and Eastern Europe. Motorola and HONOR rounded out the top five, shipping 2.0 million and 1.1 million devices, a remarkable 73% and 116% year-over-year growth, respectively.

"In the fourth quarter of 2023, high-end smartphones took a record share of the European market. Almost 40% of smartphone shipments were priced at USD 800 or higher," Canalys analyst Runar Bjørhovde said. “The dominance of high-end devices was mainly reinforced by strong demand for the iPhone 15 Pro, as well as the steady Galaxy S series and the growing Google Pixel. Looking ahead, Apple is looking to take advantage of the upcoming update cycle. This includes exploring new routes to market that enable consumers to purchase iPhones, such as the bank-as-channel approach with Spain's Santander. In the case of Samsung, the premium S-series and foldable devices are still a priority, and they are looking to test a service-based subscription model.”

“Besides the top three, the vendor landscape has changed dramatically in 2023, with strong growth in a select few offsetting the overall market decline,” commented Brandon Gurney, research analyst at Canalys. “Motorola was the strongest growing vendor in 2023 and focused on securing targeted MNO slots in the region to grow throughout the year. After Motorola, HONOR broke into Europe's top five for the first time in the fourth quarter, achieving a key milestone in proving its market potential on the way to the IPO."

“Competition has been fierce in recent years, but it will only intensify in 2024,” added Gurney. “OPPO, vivo and realme aim to regain market share after settling their patent disputes with Nokia. HMD is trying to improve its position with its recently launched sub-brand, specifically targeting European consumers and channel partners. In addition, the growing footprint of the Nothing and TRANSSION brands will further invigorate the competitive landscape and offer consumers many excellent opportunities in the coming years.”

"Single-digit growth will return to the European smartphone market in 2024 due to the upcoming refresh cycle of devices purchased during the pandemic," added Bjørhovde. “To capitalize on this opportunity and stand out, suppliers must adopt a holistic approach that emphasizes innovation, reliability, back-end logistics, regulatory compliance and a clear brand message. In the long term, manufacturers will place greater emphasis on the on-device user experience centered around artificial intelligence, emphasizing personalization, ecosystem interaction, productivity, and entertainment. AI integration in smartphones continues to evolve and currently serves as a key R&D-driven feature that is critical to maintaining long-term competitiveness. However, vendors must ensure that they educate consumers on how to maximize the performance of AI features on a device to achieve a significant return on investment.”

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