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Chinese OEMs gobbling up European market share from Apple, Samsung, more

Look out Samsung and Apple: Chinese smartphone makers are eating your European lunch.

Published onFebruary 14, 2019

  • Data suggests that Chinese OEMs — specifically Xiaomi and HUAWEI — are gobbling up market share in Europe.
  • Xiaomi grew its European smartphone market share by a jaw-dropping 62 percent in Q4 2018.
  • Meanwhile, most other OEMs are losing market share as HUAWEI and Xiaomi take it from them.

According to market analysis firm Canalys, the best word to describe the 2018 European smartphone market is “China.” Canalys’ data suggests Chinese smartphone OEMs are eating up European smartphone market share at a staggering pace.

You can see a chart below giving you some stats on how Q4 2018 smartphone shipments in Europe compare to the Q4 2017 totals, but it’s fairly easy to sum up: every company in the top five that doesn’t call China home lost market share. Meanwhile, the Chinese OEMs on the list gained massive amounts of European smartphone market share.

Check out the data for yourself here:

The chart can be a little confusing, so let’s make things a bit clearer. Although it says Samsung had annual growth of negative one percent in the European market, you’ll notice that the company actually increased its overall market share ever-so-slightly by 0.4 percent.

That’s because there were fewer smartphone shipments in Europe overall — four percent fewer shipments overall, in fact (which is not represented in the chart). So even though Samsung’s market share went up, that market share is smaller than it was previously.

It's Europe's turn to possibly give HUAWEI the cold shoulder
HUAWEI MateBook 13 review

No matter how you look at the data, though, it’s clear to see that Huawei and Xiaomi are eating the lunch of nearly every other OEM. Xiaomi’s staggering growth of 62 percent and HUAWEI’s growth of over 55 percent should have Apple, Samsung, and everyone else shaking in their boots.

Canalys posits that because of the various trade issues China currently has with the United States, those firms are investing more heavily in Europe than they would if they had access to the U.S. market. In other words, Europeans can partially thank the United States government for how many HUAWEI and Xiaomi phones they have the choice of buying right now.

The question now becomes this: what can Apple and Samsung do to stop losing market share to Chinese vendors? The likely answer seems fairly clear when you look at what HUAWEI and Xiaomi offer: competitively-priced phones that stand out in the market with both innovation and unique design elements. We’ll have to see if the Samsung Galaxy S10 and whatever Apple is cooking up for this year’s iPhone will do the trick.

NEXT: Yes, Apple, the slowing smartphone market affects you, too

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