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Minor smartphone players stripping market share from major brands in Europe

The latest smartphone sales figures from bean counters Kantar Worldpanel ComTech are in, and show that smaller smartphone manufacturers are gaining on the major players in Europe.

The data, which examines phone sales for the quarter running up to April, showed Huawei (the Chinese giant) making major strides, more than doubling the number of handsets it sold in five major Euro markets over the past year (an increase of 123 per cent, to be precise). Overall, Huawei now holds a 3 per cent share of the European market. In its strong 2013 results, the company noted that 65 per cent of its revenue came from international markets – it's certainly a vendor to watch.

Wiko also witnessed triple digit growth according to Kantar, with the firm moving up to grab an 8 per cent share of the French smartphone market. The Euro market is slowly fragmenting to a greater extent in terms of these more minor players clawing market share away from the established brands – and while that fragmentation hasn't hit the UK in the same way as mainland Europe, Kantar notes Wiko is set to make a push in this country through 2014. Of course, Huawei is hardly an unknown name on these shores, thanks to handsets like the excellent Ascend P7 (which grabbed one of our Best Buy awards).

Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar, commented: "Increasingly across Europe and the US we are seeing separation of tariffs and handsets, mirroring the dynamic seen in other parts of the world. Consumers are starting to realise the true cost of handsets, and as a result they are shopping around to find cheaper alternatives. This shift in behaviour plays directly into the hands of lesser known brands like Huawei and Wiko, who are able to offer competitive technologies for a fraction of the price."

As for overall mobile OS market share in Europe, Android is still holding as the dominant entity on 72.4 per cent, with iOS on 17.5 per cent, and Windows on 8.4 per cent. In the UK, though, Android is weaker on 58.2 per cent, followed by iOS which is much stronger on 30.2 per cent, and Windows Phone on 9.5 per cent.