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European smartphone market sees growth for the first time in years

The first quarter of 2024 wasn’t good for the US smartphone market. Contrary to the global trend, smartphone sales in the US declined. Europe, meanwhile, returned to growth this past quarter. The region saw a first YoY (year-on-year) growth in quarterly sales after 12 consecutive quarters of decline. The last YoY growth was recorded in Q1 2021. As expected, Samsung was the largest smartphone vendor in Europe in the first three months of the year.

Europe saw its first smartphone sales growth in three years in Q1 2024

According to market research firm Canalys, 33.1 million smartphones were shipped across Europe in Q1 2024 (excluding Russia). The figure marks a 2% YoY shipment growth from 32.4 million units in the same period last year. The growth rate is slower than the global average of 10%—the global industry was driven by emerging markets. However, it’s still a good sign for vendors playing in Europe. It’s the first quarterly sales growth in three years.

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Canalys observed that the European region recorded its highest share of premium models (priced at $800 and above) for a Q1 ever. Driven by Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series, premium models accounted for 32% of all shipments. Sales of the Korean firm’s flagship lineup (including previous-gen Galaxy S devices) grew by 58% YoY to 4.3 million units in Q1 2024. The Galaxy AI-loaded phones have been selling well globally since their launch in mid-January.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra, the pick of the lot, was the third most shipped phone in Europe during the first three months of 2024. Samsung sold 1.6 million units of the phone in the region. The iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro were the best-selling models, shipping 2.6 million and 1.6 million units, respectively. Samsung’s budget phone Galaxy A15 (4G) and the iPhone 15 made up the top five smartphones sold in Europe in Q1 2024.

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The next five best-selling devices are Xiaomi’s Redmi 13C, Samsung’s Galaxy A15 5G and Galaxy S24, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 13 4G, and Samsung’s Galaxy A25 5G. The top 10 models accounted for over 43% of all sales. Canalys says, “Improved low-end demand will be vital for the market to return to growth in 2024,” so Android OEMs would be looking to bolster their budget and mid-range offerings with new models in the coming months.

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Samsung was the largest vendor by a huge margin

Samsung has historically been the largest smartphone vendor in Europe. It was no different this time. The Korean firm sold 12.1 million Galaxy phones in the region in Q1 2024, capturing 37% of the market. While its market share remained flat over Q1 2023, the company increased shipments by 2%. Apple followed distantly with a 22% share. It shipped 7.3 million iPhones, 5.6 million of which were the three iPhone 15 models mentioned above.

Xiaomi, Motorola, and HONOR made up Europe’s top five smartphone vendors in Q1 2024. Canalys forecasts sales to remain almost flat for the rest of the year. The EU’s eco-design directive will force companies to restructure their business strategies in the coming years. “Finding a balance between sustainability, compliance, AI, brand strengthening, and hardware innovations will be vital for vendors to succeed in Europe in the years leading up to 2030,” Canalys said.

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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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