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Xiaomi, not Samsung or Apple, is taking advantage of HUAWEI's woes in Europe

Samsung and Apple nonetheless tightened their combined grip over the region.

Published onMarch 1, 2021

Xiaomi Mi 11 back against floor
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Samsung and Apple remained the biggest smartphone makers in Europe in 2020 despite waning shipments.
  • Third-placed Xiaomi was the biggest gainer in 2020.
  • HUAWEI continued to slip on the continent.

The European smartphone market slowed markedly in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, but there were some notable performers on the continent despite the dip. According to a report by Counterpoint, the likes of Xiaomi and OPPO took full advantage of Samsung’s slowdown and HUAWEI’s continued struggles.

As a whole, 2020 was a dismal year for the industry. Shipments in Europe were down 14% in 2020 compared to a year prior, owing to lengthy lockdowns and stifled economic activity.

Samsung: Shipments dip, market share grows

At the head of the market, Samsung and Apple were able to stay the wobble but both failed to fully capitalize on HUAWEI’s recession. The firms grew their combined market share in the region to 54%.

Echoing the global market results, Samsung ended 2020 as Europe’s biggest smartphone maker despite shipping 12% fewer devices than a year prior. Counterpoint owed this slowed growth to the lackluster sales performance of the Galaxy S20 series and the launch of Apple’s first 5G lineup. Samsung nonetheless expanded its market share by a percentage point to 32%.

Apple, which ended the last quarter of 2020 topping Samsung on shipments, settled for second place over the entire year. Its annual growth waned by just 1% thanks to the performance of the iPhone 12 line.

Xiaomi, OPPO move into HUAWEI’s void

OPPO Reno 4 Pro 5G color effect on the rear housing
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The real winner in 2020 was Xiaomi. Capitalizing on Huawei‘s fall, Xiaomi is now the region’s third-biggest smartphone maker. It nearly doubled its 2019 smartphone shipments quota with strong sales in Spain and Italy, per Counterpoint. Its performance saw HUAWEI slip back to fourth place. HUAWEI’s shipments dipped by 43% year-over-year tanking its market share from 19% in 2019 to 12% in 2020.

Which company will capitalize on HUAWEI's woes in 2021?

624 votes

Finally, a BBK Electronics trio prop up Europe’s smartphone market. OPPO remains the biggest BBK brand in Europe. It saw an 82% increase in shipments in 2020 over 2019 which upped its market share to 4% in 2020.

Seventh-placed realme was a standout performer. It saw a shipments surge in 2020 with a near eleven-fold increase over 2019 — its launch year in the region. It shipped just 600 000 fewer units than OnePlus, which grew by just 5% over the course of 2020. It seems that the firm’s fierce European rollout plan is paying off.

What about 2021?

realme has a good chance of building its market share this year. The firm is set to launch what could be the cheapest Snapdragon 888 phone in the form of the realme GT. OnePlus will look to stave off its sibling brand with the OnePlus 9 series, too.

Despite its 2020 issues, Samsung’s prospects look brighter this year. The Galaxy S21 series is reportedly faring better in Korea than its predecessor. Apple will likely only launch the iPhone 12 successor later this year.

As for HUAWEI, it’s unlikely its position will see any improvement, especially as its rivals continue to flood the market at all price points. But which company do you feel will benefit most from HUAWEI’s woes? Be sure to vote in the poll above!

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