European Smartphone Market Drops 12 Percent in 1Q22
The European smartphone market declined by 12% in the first quarter of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. This is the lowest first-quarter shipments result for nearly a decade. The decline was caused by several factors, including ongoing component shortages, COVID-19-related lockdowns in China, deteriorating economic conditions, and the war in Ukraine.
“Existing issues such as COVID-19 and component shortages have been exacerbated by new economic and geopolitical challenges. Rising inflation levels across the region are impacting consumer spending, while Samsung and Apple, Russia’s first and third-ranked smartphone vendors, halted all shipments into Europe’s largest market in early March 2022,” said Counterpoint Research’s Associate Director Jan Stryjak.
“The two vendors make up around half of the Russian smartphone shipments, but their combined shipments in Russia account for only 6% of total European smartphone shipments. The consequences of their withdrawal are, therefore, still relatively small on a regional scale. However, the impact of the war may develop wider ramifications if it leads to a drop in availability of raw materials, a rise in prices, further inflationary pressure, and/or other vendors withdrawing from Russia,” added Stryjak.
Both Samsung and Apple shipments declined, despite launches of new devices: Samsung with its latest flagship Galaxy S22 series and Apple with its mid-tier iPhone SE update. Xiaomi and OPPO, meanwhile, continued to suffer from component shortages, although both are showing early signs of recovery. Bucking the trend in Europe, realme was the only top-five vendor to register an annual growth in shipments, and it remains one of the region’s fastest-growing major brands. Only Nokia HMD and Google grew faster, albeit from a much smaller base.
Looking forward, the overall situation is expected to get worse before it gets better. Many countries in Europe are perilously close to recession, and the Russo-Ukraine war is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. Annual growth in smartphone shipments is therefore expected to continue to decline for the next few quarters, especially in Q2 as the cost of living across the region hits record highs, and the full impact of Samsung and Apple’s withdrawal from Russia is realized.