Smartphone shipments in Europe impacted by war; market leader Samsung saw major 15% year-on-year drop

Amy Fan, Taipei; Jack Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

The European market in the third quarter of 2023 was still affected by war-related factors. Although Samsung Electronics maintained its top spot in the European smartphone market, its shipment volume showed warning signs. It experienced a significant 15% year-on-year decline, a far more severe drop than Apple's 3% year-on-year decrease.

Citing data from Counterpoint Research, Korea's Chosun Biz pointed out that smartphone shipments in Europe in the third quarter of 2023 saw an 11% year-on-year decrease. Western Europe experienced an 8% decrease, an improvement over the 14% decrease in the previous quarter. Eastern Europe, still affected by geopolitics and the war, saw a 15% shipment decrease.

Source: Counterpoint Research, compiled by DIGITIMES, November 2023

Despite still being the leader of the European smartphone market, Samsung's market share in the third quarter of 2023 saw a 2% year-on-year decrease. This marked the lowest shipment volume level since 2011 and a massive 15% decrease compared to 2022.

The decline in shipment volumes not only affects Samsung but is also causing concerns for other smartphone brands. Apple, for instance, saw its third-quarter shipment volume in 2023 decrease by 3% year-on-year, reaching the lowest level since 2014.

However, compared to its competitors, Samsung is facing an even more severe decline, which resulted in Apple's market share increasing rather than decreasing. It went from 22% in the third quarter of 2022 to 24% in 2023, marking a 2% increase and Apple's best third-quarter performance ever. In contrast, Samsung's market share declined by 2%, from 34% in the third quarter of 2022 to 32% in 2023.

Xiaomi's market share ranks third in Europe, behind only Samsung and Apple. Its market share in the third quarter of 2023 was 22%, the same as its market share in 2022. However, its shipment volume saw a 13% year-on-year decrease. Due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, major brands like Samsung and Apple withdrew from Russia. It was Chinese brands like Xiaomi that filled the gap they left behind. Xiaomi's current market position in Russia and Eastern Europe is becoming more stable, successfully expanding its influence in Europe.

Realme holds the number four position with a 4% market share, and Honor is ranked fifth with a 3% market share. Realme experienced a 30% year-on-year decrease in shipment volumes, while Honor saw an 8% year-on-year increase. Transsion subsidiaries Tecno and Infinix mainly target the Russian market, resulting in rapid growth in shipment volumes in the European market by 192% and 518%, respectively.

Citing data from IDC, Seoul Shinmun pointed out that Samsung's global smartphone shipment in the third quarter of 2023 saw an 8% year-on-year decrease. Furthermore, with Apple and Xiaomi increasing their shipment volume, Samsung's global market share has fallen below 20%. Samsung's situation is like being stuck between a rock and a hard place: they're losing to Apple in brand competition and are on the backfoot to Chinese brands in price competition.