17 Apr 2018
London, 17 April, 2018 - The EMEA mobile phone market saw smartphone volumes fall for a second year in 2017, while there was a relative boom in shipments of lowly feature phones, a reversal of the previous trend.
Smartphone volumes were down modestly at 361 million, against 374 million in 2016. Feature phone shipments rose by 8.7% to 206 million. Smartphone market value was marginally lower in dollar terms at $109 billion, though the drop was more pronounced in euros, at €96 billion, against €101 billion in 2016.
"Looking at the European market of the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland, consumers are spending more money on phones even as they buy them less frequently. This is true of countries in both Western and Central Europe," said Simon Baker, program director of mobile phone research in IDC CEMA. In a year when the European economy showed shoots of recovery, and the euro rose against the dollar, the drop underlined the pressures as the smartphone business matures.
Apple managed to stand out in a difficult market, commented Susana Santos, senior research analyst at IDC Western Europe. The premium iPhone X was only launched in November but added some $4.3 billion to Apple sales in the European market across the year, over a sixth of the annual Apple total. Sales in the more affluent Western European countries were overall flat, though Germany stood out, but overall in EMEA the shipment value of Apple iPhones rose to 37.5% of total smartphone value, on sales of 57 million iPhones across the year, up from 34.2% of the market value and 54.8 million iPhones in 2016.
The competition to Samsung from Huawei helped to revitalize the top end of the Android market, and in Europe sales of Android phones above $700 (€619 in 2017) were up by a fifth from 2016. But there was a trend to keep older premium models in production at lower prices to keep volumes buoyant as consumers looked for better value in their phone purchases. Samsung continued to dominate Android sales in EMEA and in 2017 held on to a two-fifth share, while Huawei's challenge slowed, with the Android share only slightly above that of the previous year at 13.4%. The relaunch of the Nokia brand by HMD saw it reestablish itself in many of the countries of old Nokia strength; over half of its global smartphone sales were within EMEA.
Other key trends in the EMEA market in 2017: