In the first quarter of last year, no mid-range 5G phones were available in the European market. Then, in the third quarter, they accounted for 20% of the segment. In the first quarter of this year, mid-range 5G accounted for half of the devices sold in Europe in the $250 to $500 range, according to Counterpoint Research.
Support for next-generation networks is only part of the story – the mid-tier ($250 to $500) and the “affordable premium” tier ($500 to $700) are what drove the growth in smartphone sales on the Old Continent last year. And this was done at the expense of Huawei.
Huawei has now practically disappeared from the Western market. It was very popular in the under $250 segment, but the companies that swallowed up its market share chose instead to focus on the highest price levels. Analysts argue that this is why the $250-$500 and $500-$700 segments increased even during an economic downturn caused by the pandemic. In addition, there is now a shortage of attractive devices at less than $250.
Relatively new brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus recorded a four-way increase in sales compared to the first quarter of last year. More than a third of the phones sold in the medium and affordable premium tiers now come from these three companies.
This puts pressure on Apple and Samsung in these segments, but according to Contrepoint the two market leaders are not safe, even in the flagship segment, as Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Realme and vivo are all gaining ground. They are working on foldable flagships, which will further increase the pressure on Apple and Samsung, analysts predict.