Record Value for Smartphone Market in Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Simon Baker, Marta Pinto, Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi, smartphones

The smartphone market in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) have shown stability during the first quarter of 2018 regarding units with a value increase surpassing the previous first quarter peak result for quarter one of 2015.

The total smartphone sales value was $29.967 billion, with a unit volume of 86.523 million. However, IDC CEMA’s program director, Mobile Devices, Simon Baker highlighted that the overall shipment of mobile phones in EMEA decreased year on year in unit terms, with a justification of the market being beyond peak of levels registered in 2017. The reason for this is that the resurgence in feature phones across the emerging markets more so in Africa has experienced since the second half of 2016, is now beginning to recede. Moreover, the first quarter of 2018 feature phone market exhibited the smallest among all the quarters.

Going by IDC Western Europe’s senior analyst, Marta Pinto, the same is experienced in Western Europe where the smartphone market is contracting just like in Africa with a total drop of 29.213 million in the quarter. This can be translated to 8.2% down on the year before compared to Africa’s 4.4% decline, Middle East’s 1.5% increase, and Central Europe’s 5.6% increase.

Samsung is maintaining its market leadership across the EMEA but its share in Africa being the smallest. Samsung is stable in Western Europe, and it has a wide product portfolio, which has enabled it to adjust to the new realities of the market.

Additionally, the sales for premium smartphones is on the rise, and this has benefited Samsung because they produce better premium smartphones compared to their competitors even though consumers prefer value for money alternative. Moreover, consumers prefer the premium models to before, but are content with the previous version over the latest.

Huawei is placed second and has been gaining market in Europe as well as increasing its presence in the Middle East. Over the past year, its volumes have increased by half and most rapid increase in CEE and the Middle East.

However, both Huawei and Samsung are on the lookout based on the exponential growth of Xiaomi whore are preparing for an IPO. Xiaomi has excelled in India, and they have been focused on Russia as part of their global expansion, which is supposed to extend to Ukraine and Poland. Although its growth in CEE has stagnated hence prompting a move into Western Europe. Xiaomi’s expansion strategy has focused on markets with open distribution with the approach of owning their brand shop. However, the company is not used to focus on operator relationship; they have recently partnered with UK-based European operator 3 where they will pursue every channel opportunities as it pushes into Western Europe.

Based on IDC’s forecast, the smartphone market will approach 370 million smartphones in EMEA in 2018. Nonetheless, the smartphone value forecast has increased to $120 billion, a recovery to the highest level in the region, back in 2015. Based on Pinto, there will be the emergence of other new models with wider screens, which will help boost the market. Additionally, the number of smartphones with bezel fewer screens will increase, and this is predicted to promote a replacement cycle.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru

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