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Component shortage issues caused 12% decline in European phone market in Q1

The European smartphone market declined by 12% year-on-year in Q1 2022, according to the latest research from Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor service, registering the lowest first quarter shipments for nearly a decade. The decline was caused by a number of factors, including ongoing component shortages, COVID-19 related lockdowns in China, deteriorating economic conditions and the onset of the Russo-Ukraine war.

Counterpoint Research’s Associate Director, Jan Stryjak said, “existing issues such as COVID-19 and component shortages have been exacerbated by new economic and geopolitical challenges. Rising inflation levels across the region are impacting consumer spending, while Samsung and Apple, Russia’s first and third ranked smartphone vendors, halted all shipments into Europe’s largest market in early March 2022.”

Counterpoint Research Europe Smartphone Market Q1 2022

Stryjak added “the two vendors make up around half of Russian smartphone shipments, but their combined shipments in Russia account for only 6% of total European smartphone shipments. The consequences of their withdrawal are, therefore, still relatively small on a regional scale. However, the impact of the war may develop wider ramifications if it leads to a drop in availability of raw materials, a rise in prices, further inflationary pressure and/or other vendors withdrawing from Russia”.

Both Samsung and Apple shipments declined annually in Q1 2022, despite launches of new devices: Samsung with its latest flagship Galaxy S22 series and Apple with its mid-tier iPhone SE update. Xiaomi and OPPO, meanwhile, continued to suffer from component shortages, although both are showing early signs of recovery. Bucking the trend in Europe, realme was the only top-five vendor to register an annual growth in shipments in Q1 2022, and it remains one of the region’s fastest growing major brands (only Nokia HMD and Google grew faster, albeit from a much smaller base).

Looking forward, the overall situation is expected to get worse before it gets better. Many countries in Europe are perilously close to recession, and the Russo-Ukraine war is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. Annual growth in smartphone shipments is therefore expected to continue to decline for the next few quarters, especially in Q2 as the cost of living across the region hits record highs, and the full impact of Samsung and Apple’s withdrawal from Russia is realised.

TVJ Bureau

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