The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, covering the three months until April 2014, shows that international leading brands, from Apple to Samsung, are facing attrition from smaller newcomers who are picking away at their market share. Alongside comeback stories from the likes of Motorola are significant successes by companies like China’s Huawei, which saw its sales rise 123 percent in the five most significant European markets (the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) over the past year.
“Across Europe there is an accelerating trend of fragmentation in the handset market as smaller brands gain real traction,” said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “Established brands like Motorola and Sony are showing resurgence, and newcomers to the European market such as Huawei and Wiko are challenging the established names.” Android also remains Europe’s favorite smartphone OS, with 72.4 percent market share, while Apple holds 17.5 percent and Windows 8.4 percent.
The underlying impetus from this trend, aside from the proliferation of form factors and price points made possible by Android, is the “separation of tariffs and handsets,” according to Sunnebo, with subscribers increasingly looking to shop around for their own handsets rather than take a bundled offer from the provider – a demand profile which favors the lesser brands.
Samsung is having things far more its own way in the U.S. There, it has taken a 34.1 market share, only very slightly behind Apple’s 34.6 percent. “Initial Samsung Galaxy S5 sales in the USA have been strong, with significant numbers of existing Galaxy owners trading up to the latest model, however in these early stages of release few of Apple’s loyal customers have switched to the Android platform,” commented Sunnebo. No wonder Apple wants to block their sales.