European Smartphone Market Set to Rebound 7 Percent in 2024

European Smartphone Market Set to Rebound 7 Percent in 2024

Smartphone shipments in Europe (excluding Russia) will increase by 7% in 2024 to reach 132 million, according to Canalys. An upcoming refresh cycle and easing economic pressures will drive volume growth in Europe. But the rest of 2023 will remain challenging. Canalys forecasts the market will fall by 13% in 2023 as shipments are constrained due to extended device lifetimes and purchasing cycles, increased pressure from secondhand markets, and high channel inventory levels across the region.

“Conditions remain tough for the European smartphone market, but falling inflation and improving inventory levels have sown the seeds of optimism,” said Runar Bjørhovde, Analyst at Canalys. “With the decline in demand stabilizing and channel inventory levels improving, market growth will return in 2024. Central and Eastern Europe, Italy, Spain, and Portugal present the biggest short-term opportunities for ambitious smartphone vendors due to shorter refresh cycles and the channel being positive to new propositions and selling smartphones from emerging brands. Markets skewed toward the $800+ segment, such as Germany, France, and the Nordics, will start to grow in the second half of 2024 as economic pressures ease. Though these markets had the largest declines in Q2, their substantial installed bases will drive a resurgence in shipments as devices reach the end of their lifecycles and require a refresh. We anticipate the rebound in the shopping holiday season in 2024.”

“As competition at the high end is intense and dominated by Apple and Samsung, other ambitious vendors should target different segments to establish their presence,” added Bjørhovde. “Opportunities have opened in the sub-$200 price band as Samsung has deprioritized it and many other vendors are quitting the price segment because they are struggling with profitability. There is demand in this segment across the region, but there is only space for two or three successful vendors as the segment requires economies of scale and close collaboration with the channel to succeed.”

“The market’s long-term outlook is for moderate cyclical growth, which will challenge current revenue models for vendors and the channel,” said Bjørhovde. “Longer device lifetimes, stringent regulations aimed at reducing new device volumes, and increased demand for used and refurbished devices will force vendors to search for new opportunities to generate revenue and stay profitable. Within this market dynamic, vendors must take greater control of device lifecycles to meet trends and capture revenue opportunities. Selling original spare parts, helping the channel to drive device trade-ins, and offering vendor-refurbished devices will be good areas for vendors to start with. This will be vital to succeed in markets skewed toward the $800+ segment in the short term and will grow in importance in markets skewed toward the lower price bands over time.”

Canalys forecasts that the European smartphone market’s (excluding Russia) year-on-year growth rate will reach 7% in 2024 and slow to 2% in 2027 when volumes will recover to 2022 levels. “Ultimately, vendors that show resilience in the current market environment and an ability to quickly adapt to new regulations will prove themselves as strong long-term partners to the channel,” concluded Bjørhovde.