British boom sees Samsung named Europe’s best-selling smartphone brand

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the snappily-titled analyst firm, has named Samsung as Europe’s top-selling smartphone brand after research showed the Koreans now enjoy a 45 per cent market share across the continent.

And we Brits have been instrumental in the rise. The last 12 weeks of sales has seen Samsung hold top spot in the UK smartphone rankings with a huge 59.5 per cent share, up from 47 per cent a year ago. This has boosted the firm’s overall share across Europe to 45 per cent as of July this year.

When people talk about Samsung’s upsurge in the smartphone world and its very real challenge to Apple’s industry dominance, this year’s boom product - the Samsung Galaxy S3 - is typically deemed responsible for the company’s success. But Kantar’s findings suggest this may be an overly-simplistic interpretation as Samsung phones actually make up five of the top 10 best-selling smartphones in Britain, dispelling the view that sales of the S3 alone has propelled Samsung’s climb.

“While the majority of noise is focused on big-name products such as the S3 or S2, it’s easy to forget that Samsung is selling smartphones across all tiers,” said Kantar’s global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo, who added that “even the smartphone/tablet hybrid Samsung Galaxy Note mak[es] it into the top ten.”

Yet in terms of Apple’s marginalisation in these findings, Kantar acknowledges an undeniably important factor when it states, “As the iPhone 4S nears the end of its lifecycle, and rivals such as Samsung & HTC bring out new flagship products, we inevitably see big changes in share.” The figures make excellent reading for Samsung just now, but its European crown may well be nudged off by the year’s end.

“Apple continues to enjoy very high loyalty across the world,” says Sunnebo. “In Great Britain, among Apple consumers who have changed device, loyalty currently stands at 80 per cent, while 92 per cent of current Apple consumers plan to buy another iPhone when they upgrade. With this in mind, any dip in Apple share is likely to be short-lived with the release of an updated iPhone in quarter three bringing momentum back to the Cupertino giant.”

With the 2012 Samsung vs Apple contest shaping up as intriguingly in the marketplace as it is in the courts, much will rely on the success of that next iPhone. Samsung has struck a serious blow to its rival this year, and not just with the Galaxy S3 as we see here, but Apple is already revving up its sizeable engine in response.