Samsung's European device market share surges to 40%

Note 10

Samsung's share of the European smartphone market has grown to a five-year record high of more than 40%, more than double that of its nearest rival, according to a new report.

Research from Canalys shows that the South Korean firm shipped around 18.3 million devices across the continent during the second quarter of 2019.

Canalys attributed Samsung's market success to "a blitz of competitive new devices" launched by the firm over the past year. Samsung's A series, in particular, accounted for over 12 million units.

The analyst firm said its top four models in this range, the Galaxy A10, A20e, A40 and A50, together shipped more than any other vendor in Europe managed with their entire range of smartphones.

This news comes as last week Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+, which will launch in Europe on August 23.

Samsung's biggest competitor, Huawei, saw its European shipments fall by 16% to 8.5 million units in the same period, seeing its market share also fall from 22.4% to 18.8%. In the past year, it has faced the impact of political restrictions over fears its devices could be intercepted by Chinese spies.

"Samsung obviously had enough of losing share in Europe. For years, a focus on operating profit has stifled its product strategy," said Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton.

"But its success is not solely due to product strategy. Samsung has been quick to capitalize on Huawei's US Entity List problems, working behind the scenes to position itself as a stable alternative in conversations with important retailers and operators.

"A lack of brand loyalty among users of low-end and mid-range Android phones, which has blighted Samsung for so long, has become the catalyst for its best performance in years.

Stanton claimed that Europe keeps its reputation as one of the most brand-volatile markets in the world, saying it is rife with danger but also opportunity.

Despite remaining the third-largest smartphone vendor in Europe, Apple saw iPhone sales decrease by 17% to 6.4 million units. This put its market share at just 6.4%, compared to 7.7% during the same period in 2018.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi's sales increased by a staggering 48% to 4.3 million units, gaining further share in Europe (4.3%). HMD Global has also made the top five, although its sales are down by 18% (1.2 million).

Canalys analyst Mo Jia said: "Xiaomi is now a major force in Europe. Its core strength remains price-sensitive countries across Europe, in online and open market channels, but it is increasingly being trusted and ranged by important mobile operators.

She believes that it is not necessarily in the interests of the channel for Samsung to get stronger, adding: "If Samsung consolidates its power against a weakened Huawei, it can negotiate harder on margin.

"For this reason, distributors, retailers and mobile operators are actively seeking alternative brands to fill the gap and reduce their dependence on Samsung."

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter.