Samsung Dominates the Western European Phone Market, Apple Impacted by New iPhone Rumors, and Nokia Stabilizes its Market Share in 2Q12, Says IDC

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After a positive first quarter, the Western European mobile phone market failed to maintain a positive trend, due to a weaker economic environment and the new product launches expected in the third quarter, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Total shipments dropped 1.9% year on year to 42.1 million units, according to IDC's European Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, published in August 2012.

The feature phone segment continued to decline, with shipments down 30% to 14.7 million units, compared with 21.1 million in the second quarter last year. The segment continues to be supported by the lowest price bands. 58% of total feature phone shipments were under €60 and the highest growth in the segment came from the €20-€40 price band. Total smartphone shipments increased 26% year on year to 27.4 million units in 2Q12, but this was not enough to offset the decline in feature phones. Smartphones accounted for 65% of total shipments.

"The second quarter was impacted by a weaker economic environment in Western Europe, which contributed to lower demand," said Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager at IDC. "Moreover, there are rumors that a number of devices will be unveiled in the third quarter and mobile operators are focused on clearing stocks ahead of the new launches. The Samsung Galaxy S III was the only major product release in the second quarter, and therefore the biggest seller in the quarter, which contributed to Samsung's dominance in the market. The third quarter will be flooded with a number of devices on different operating systems. The new devices may represent major developments from previous versions, and current devices may not be upgradable to the new platform releases. This has led consumers to postpone their upgrades and wait for the new 'crown jewels' from the major OEMs to be unveiled."

Android continued to increase its market share, supported by Samsung's strong performance. Google's OS grew 71% year on year, only outpaced by Windows Phone 7, which grew 874% year on year. Android now accounts for 65% of total smartphone shipments in the region.

Samsung achieved its highest market share, accounting for 41% of total shipments, beefed up by the smartphone segment, though the company lost its leadership in the feature phone segment to Nokia. As in previous quarters, the success of the Galaxy line-up, particularly the Galaxy S III this quarter, was the main contributor to higher market shares in both volume and value.

Nokia stabilized its market share. Despite the 10% year-on-year decline in shipments, the decline in market share has slowed compared with previous quarters. The company regained leadership in the feature phone segment, due to its good performance of Dual-SIM and Asha devices. In the smartphone segment the Lumia range continues to be the best selling Windows Phones, overtaking Symbian in unit shipments for the first time.

Apple was impacted by the rumors surrounding a new iPhone expected in the third quarter, and shipments slowed as consumers postponed their replacements until a new device is confirmed.

Sony/Sony Ericsson improved its performance and overtook RIM. The company's smartphone portfolio has performed very well, particularly the latest Sony Xperia S and Xperia U, supported by a number of marketing campaigns across Europe.

RIM continued to struggle and shipments fell 37% year on year to 1.9 million units, the lowest volume since 4Q09. Its market share also declined, to 4.5%, from 7% in 2Q11. Heavy discounts have prevented the company from recording an even worse performance while it transitions to the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The company also continues to lose market share in the enterprise segment, with its share here being cut by half in the past year.

For more information on IDC's European Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker service and its related deliverables, please contact Francisco Jeronimo, research manager, IDC Western European mobile communications group (, tel.: +44(0)20 8987 7186 or visit
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