Smartphone Shipments in Europe Dip 3% in Q4 2023, Apple Regains Lead Position

Smartphone shipments to Europe (excluding Russia) fell 3 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2023, totaling 37.8 million units, market research firm Canalys said.
Top smartphone brands in Europe in 2023 Canalys reportThe report highlights Apple’s resurgence to the top spot in the ranking after trailing behind Samsung for seven consecutive quarters.

Apple recorded 1 percent growth, reaching 12.4 million units, while Samsung slipped to the second position with a 12 percent decline to 10.8 million units. Despite this, Samsung maintained its position as the largest vendor throughout 2023.

Xiaomi has retained its third position despite a 10 percent decline to 6.0 million units, driven by positive momentum in Central and Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, Motorola and HONOR rounded off the top five, shipping 2.0 million and 1.1 million devices, respectively, with remarkable growth rates of 73 percent and 116 percent.

Runar Bjorhovde, analyst at Canalys, emphasized the increasing dominance of high-end smartphones in Q4 2023, constituting nearly 40 percent of shipments, attributed to strong demand for the iPhone 15 Pro, Galaxy S-series, and Google Pixel.
Smartphone market in Europe 2023 Canalys reportLooking forward, Runar Bjorhovde noted Apple’s strategy to leverage the impending refresh cycle and explore new distribution channels, such as the bank-as-a-channel approach piloted with Santander in Spain. For Samsung, the focus remains on premium S-series and foldable devices, along with the exploration of service-based subscription models.

Brandon Gurney, research analyst at Canalys, highlighted the shifting vendor landscape in 2023, with Motorola and HONOR experiencing significant growth. He noted Motorola’s strategy of securing targeted mobile network operator slots and HONOR’s milestone achievement of breaking into Europe’s top five for the first time, signaling its market potential as it moves towards an IPO.

Looking ahead to 2024, Brandon Gurney anticipates intensified competition, with OPPO, vivo, and realme aiming to regain market share after settling patent disputes with Nokia. HMD, leveraging its recently launched sub-brand, will target European consumers and channel partners. The expansion of Nothing and TRANSSION’s brands will further escalate competition, providing consumers with diverse options.

Canalys predicts single-digit growth returning to the European smartphone market in 2024, driven by the impending refresh cycle of pandemic-acquired devices. Smartphone vendors need to focus on innovation, reliability, logistics, regulatory compliance, and brand messaging.

On-device AI integration, emphasizing personalization, ecosystem interaction, productivity, and entertainment are crucial factors for long-term competitiveness. Educating consumers on maximizing the potential of on-device AI features is deemed essential for vendors to ensure strong returns on investments in the evolving smartphone landscape.