European smartphone shipments at lowest level for nine years

Fresh data from analyst firm Counterpoint reveals European smartphone shipments declined by 12% in Q1 2022, to their lowest level since Q1 2013.

A mere 49 million smartphones made it out of the door across Europe in the first quarter of this year, as a perfect storm of negative events conspired to throw a spanner in the works. On top of the generally rubbish state of most economies, Covid-related supply chain challenges, the ongoing component crisis and the small matter of a major conflict on its eastern borders conspired to constrain both supply and demand for smartphones.

“Existing issues such as COVID-19 and component shortages have been exacerbated by new economic and geopolitical challenges,” said Jan Stryjak of Counterpoint. “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.

“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.”

Counterpoint expects the situation to get worse before it gets better. In today’s globalised economy there are few regional hiding places and the factors detailed above weigh heavily on the rest of the world too. Europe, however, is an especially low growth region and many of its countries are already close to recession. On top of that the macroeconomic stresses created by the European single currency seem set to rear their ugly head once more, so things could get even nastier.


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