“It is great to see the European smartphone market growing in 2021, but that only tells half the story; COVID-19 impacts resulted in a 14% annual drop in sales in 2020, which means the market is still well-below pre-pandemic levels,” said Associate Director Jan Stryjak.
Although Apple started the year in the lead, it was overtaken by both Samsung and Xiaomi.
Riding the wave of the launch of its first 5G iPhone, Apple started the year on a high with a market leading 34% share. In February, Samsung launched its Galaxy S21 series which, at least initially, sold well, helping Samsung’s sales grow by 24% compared to January and pushing it to the top spot in February 2021. Samsung then suffered significant supply issues starting in May due to COVID-19 related factory shutdowns in Vietnam, which opened the door for Xiaomi to become number one in Europe for the first time, in June 2021 (helped by good growth in Russia, Spain and Italy).
As expected, the launch of the new iPhone 13 propelled growth and led to Apple ending the year with its highest European market share ever.
Xiaomi’s leadership was short-lived, though, as Samsung retook the lead in July 2021 off the back of strong A series sales. Samsung then extended its lead with the launch of its popular Galaxy Z foldable smartphones, while Xiaomi was hit badly by component shortages. Samsung continued to lead the market for the next few months, despite the best efforts of Apple, whose iPhone 13 launch stumbled in October 2021. However, a traditionally strong end of the year finally gave Apple the lead in November 2021, a lead which Apple extended to reach it’s highest ever share in Europe in December 2021.
While it was a very competitive year for most vendors, Huawei's sales dropped almost 90% annually, leaving it with less than 1% market share and in 8th position.
More details in the full report linked below...