Europe Dominated By Smartphones

Smartphones have finally conquered Western Europe as new data reveals shipments exceeded feature phones for the first time.

A total of 42.2 million mobile phones shipped in Q2 2011 and 52 percent were smartphones, according to analyst firm IDC’s European Mobile Phone Tracker.

Smartphone adoption is on the up in all European countries as IDC says consumers can’t get enough of the iPhone and Android-based devices.

And Android is the runaway OS leader with IDC pegging a massive 352 percent year-on-year increase shipmenets to 10.5m units. This is 48.5% of total smartphone shipments to Western Europe.

Samsung was the best represented Android manufacturer thanks to the success of the Galaxy family of devices, IDC said.

It’s all about the device

“This quarter was particularly important from the device type perspective,” said Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager, IDC.

“Smartphones now dominate the Western European phone market and those vendors with stronger portfolios in the segment are consolidating their positions, compared with those manufacturers with less attractive smart devices.

“Android-powered handsets from the likes of Samsung, HTC, and Sony Ericsson have been able to drive strong volumes and to grab the biggest slice of share from the declining Symbian as Nokia moves to Windows Phones.”

Ups and downs

Smartphone shipments grew 48 percent from a year ago while feature phone shipments declined 29 percent.

IDC says the effects of mobile operators’ decision to stop subsidising feature phones in Europe is kicking in making the devices much less attractive to users.

Thus feature phones have been reduced to a niche segment made up of very-low-end devices for users who simply need a phone for voice and texts.

The mobile phone market as a whole actually suffered a slight decline of 3 percent year-on-year compared to Q2 last year.

Jeronimo said this was down to factors like the deteriorating Euro, the impact of Nokia’s decline in the smartphone market and the anticipated arrival of new phones such as the iPhone5 and Windows Phone.

Data released this summer by anotherresearch firm, Kantar WorldPanel, predicted that 50 percent of phones in the UK would be smartphones by June next year.

And on top of that, communications regulator Ofcom said recently that many Brits are already in thrall to their smartphones with a third of British adults and nearly two thirds of teenagers admitting they are ‘highly addicted’.

David Jamieson

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