Bottom line: Statistics from Counterpoint Research reveal a recovering smartphone market in Europe, where Samsung retained its 2020 leadership crown with a 32 percent market share. While it took many Galaxy A, S and Fold series phones to achieve this feat, iPhone sales rose sharply in Q4 2021, giving Apple a slight lead as the year closed. Chinese OEMs also saw appreciable growth, apart from Huawei, which managed to grab less than 1 percent of the market in Europe as it plummeted from 4th position to 8th in just one year.
Smartphone sales in Europe are yet to reach pre-pandemic levels of growth, however, 2021 showed noticeable signs of improvement as overall sales increased by 8 percent YoY. According to figures from Counterpoint Research, Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi were largely responsible for this growth as they traded places for the top spot multiple times throughout the year.
Samsung, being the market leader, also had the smallest annual growth at 6 percent. While it quickly overtook Apple in terms of market share in the starting months, by mid-year, Samsung's supply constraints briefly bumped Xiaomi to first place.
New iPhone launch and the holiday season boosted iPhone sales last year. Samsung was helped similarly by the launch of new Galaxy S models in February and Z foldables in August
Although Xiaomi's lead was short-lived, the Chinese OEM and its subsidiaries managed an impressive 50 percent YoY growth. The remaining vendors were also all Chinese brands. While Oppo, Realme and Vivo saw noticeable gains to their small market share, Huawei was nowhere to be seen.
In fact, Counterpoint noted a drastic 90 percent drop in sales for the sanction-hit company, with its tally now counted among "Others." Although Huawei plans to license phone designs and also released a $1,400 foldable (sans Google services), it remains to be seen if the company can revive its ailing consumer business.
Smartphone competition in Europe (and globally) is expected to be fierce this year with a couple of Android flagships already launching in their home markets like the OnePlus 10 Pro and the Xiaomi 12.
Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S22 is also just around the corner, whose reveal could potentially solidify the company's lead for months to come.