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Android Explodes in Western Europe - Becomes the Biggest Smartphone OS in 4Q10

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The Western European mobile phone market grew 3.2% year on year to 58.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to IDC's European Mobile Phone Tracker. Shipments of smartphones increased to 25.6 million units, 99.4% higher than in 4Q09, to represent 44% of total shipments. Feature phone shipments declined to 33.1 million units 24.8% down compared with the previous year.

Smartphones were the main competitive products for most operators in Europe in the sales season, and their marketing budgets were invested to promote and sell these devices. Strong promotional offers and sales discounts contributed to the volumes shipped during the quarter. The strong push for smartphones along with the increasing demand pushed the market to positive growth as feature phones continued to decline at a rapid pace. Android devices from HTC, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung along with the iPhone4 from Apple were the most advertised devices in the quarter. This had a direct impact on sales, and Android grew 1,580% year-on-year to 7.9 million units from 470 thousand units a year ago. The iOS increased 66% in 4Q10 compared to 4Q09 as more operators launched the iPhone4. The new Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft reversed its fortunes and grew 18% year-on-year and 100% sequentially. The growth was limited by the soft launch in most countries (English version only) and the lack of local languages. Nevertheless, the feedback from operators and end-users was particularly promising for the OS.

"The last quarter of 2010 clearly shows the trends for the coming years in Western Europe. The Western European mobile phone market will be dominated by smartphones, and Android will be the king of the hill," said Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager, IDC. "Android surged from 4% to 31% market share in less than a year to become the market leader in 4Q10 and the fastest growing operating system ever. IDC estimates at that Android will grow at a 37% compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2015 in Western Europe, overtaking the overall market growth in the period and that of its direct competitor, the iOS from Apple.

"The recent alliance announced between Nokia and Microsoft will create opportunities for other operating systems to exploit the transition period between Symbian and Windows Phone 7. Android and iOS will fiercely compete to attract all current Symbian users as they will need to migrate to another platform in the future."

Nokia Retains Regional Leadership, LG Dives to Seventh Position

Nokia shipments dropped 11% year-on-year to 19.6 million units, and its market share slipped to 33% in 4Q10 from 39% in 4Q09. This decline was in part due to the 22% fall in feature phones and the underperformance of the company's smartphones, despite the good sales from the new N8, its flagship during the quarter.

Samsung's good smartphone performance was not enough to reverse the decline in feature phones and total shipments fell 2% from the previous year, but rose 13% sequentially. The Galaxy S was a top seller in most countries and a direct competitor to the iPhone4.

Apple kept its market share despite the 66% year-on-year growth in shipments. The iPhone4 continued to be a top seller for most operators in Europe, with strong support in terms of advertising and marketing campaigns.

Sony Ericsson shipments fell 15% year-on-year, despite the 3,121% growth in its Android smartphones. The phone maker shipped 2.2 million smartphones and 2 million feature phones. The X10 and X10 mini were top selling devices in most countries and operators.

RIM's shipments increased 67% year-on-year to 3.8 million units from 2.3 million units a year ago. This growth was the result of a successful portfolio with prepaid offers and strong campaigns across major operators in Europe. The BlackBerry maker experienced growth over 200% in several countries in Western Europe and was the smartphone market leader in the U.K. in 4Q10.

Top Western European Mobile Phone Vendors

4Q10 Smartphones and Feature Phones (Units in Millions)

Vendor 4Q10 Unit Shipments 4Q10 Market Share 4Q09 Unit Shipments 4Q09 Market Share 4Q10/4Q09 Change
Nokia 19.6 33% 22.0 39% -11%
Samsung 15.6 27% 15.9 28% -2%
Apple 5.2 9% 3.1 6% 66%
Sony Ericsson 4.2 7% 5.0 9% -15%
RIM 3.8 7% 2.3 4% 67%
Others 10.3 17% 8.6 14% 19%
Total 58.7 100% 56.9 100% 3%

Top Western European Mobile Phone Vendors

4Q10 Smartphones (Units in Millions)

Vendor 4Q10 Unit Shipments 4Q10 Market Share 4Q09 Unit Shipments 4Q09 Market Share 4Q10/4Q09 Change
Nokia 7.0 27% 5.9 46% 19%
Apple 5.2 20% 3.1 24% 66%
RIM 3.8 15% 2.3 18% 67%
HTC 3.2 13% 0.8 6% 284%
Sony Ericsson 2.2 9% 0.1 1% 3,121%
Others 4.2 16% 0.6 5% 561%
Total 25.6 100% 12.8 100% 99%

Source: IDC European Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 2010

Note: Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

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