The western European handset market has returned to growth after three quarters of consecutive declines, according to research agency IDC, with Android benefiting from falling sales of BlackBerry and Symbian devices.
Total shipments grew 1.3% on 2011 to 44.8 million units, but smartphones continued their heavy growth with sales up 37% to 28.2 million. Feature phones were again on the decline, with shipments down 30% to 16.6 million. Samsung's global success was matched by its western Europe figures. It shipped 18.1 million handsets during the quarter, up 34% on 2011, giving it a 40% market share. Nokia was in second place, shipping 8.7 million devices, down 31% on 12 months ago. The Finnish manufacturer has a 19% share of the market. Apple was third with seven million shipments, up 59% on last year, and a market share of 16%.
IDC European mobile devices research manager Francisco Jeronimo said: 'Despite the fragile economic environment in most European countries, higher unemployment rates, and less disposable income, consumers showed that they are still willing to invest in smartphones when manufacturers understand their needs and offer them the right products. During the quarter the biggest contribution to the segment came from the most expensive devices. The top-tier price band – devices priced over €400 – accounted for 49% of total smartphone shipments in the region, compared with 46% in Q1 2011, with Apple's iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S II topping the sales ranking.'
Android shipments were up 124% year on year to 15.5 million units, and accounted for 55% of the smartphone market. BlackBerry and Symbian were the biggest losers. Lack of demand for RIM''s operating system led to a fall in shipments of 27% to 2.5 million units. Its market share is now 9%, almost half its 17% share from the first quarter of 2011. Symbian devices now account for less than 5% of the smartphone market, and shipments fell 70% year on year.
Windows Phone shipments were up 156% year on year, and now have a 4.1% share of the smartphone shipments. IDC said Nokia's Lumia range performed 'interestingly' but was below expectations.
Editor: Graeme Neill