China Insights

Huawei and Xiaomi near 34 million users in western Europe

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Mobile 11.02.2019 / 18:18

Xiaomi and Huawei in UK 2 col

In urban China, Huawei put in a stellar performance as its market share hit a record 26.9%, up from 16.5% a year ago.

Chinese smartphone brands Huawei and Xiaomi continues to win market share in European market, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for three months ending December 2018.

Xiaomi is now the fourth best-selling smartphone brand in Europe, with nearly six million active owners. The manufacturer is continuing to expand rapidly in Spain and, more recently, in Italy and France as well. Huawei, including its sub-brand Honor, now has 28 million active users in the five western European countries that Kantar Worldpanel monitors (note 1).

Dominic Sunnebo, Global Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “The European smartphone market remains highly competitive. Despite recent negative headlines for the Chinese manufacturers, there’s no evidence that these issues have affected sales as Huawei, Honor and Xiaomi continue their concerted push into western Europe.

“Having only launched in the UK in November last year, Xiaomi’s presence in Great Britain is still small, but with new products already going on sale in January we expect further growth in 2019. The Chinese manufacturer has found success so far with a competitive pricing strategy which places its most expensive flagship model at around £500. This appeals to users who are looking for premium quality but are not willing or able to splash out the best part of a four-figure sum.”

When commenting other major smartphone brands in western Europe, he noted: “Samsung and Apple still performed admirably, with disruption limited to only a marginal loss of market share. the impact these Chinese giants are having on the market is causing headaches for the smaller operators,” he explained: “Sony, LG and Wiko are being disproportionally impacted because of their historic stakes in the ultra-competitive low and mid-price tiers. To keep up in this landscape, these brands should take heed from their competitors when it comes to marketing.

“Xiaomi has a legacy of shunning traditional media in favour of community-driven social campaigns – which goes to show that greater marketing spend doesn’t always generate a bigger buzz,” Dominic said.

In urban China, Huawei put in a stellar performance in the latest period as its market share hit a record 26.9%, up from 16.5% a year ago. As a result, all other major players in the area saw shares flat or in decline.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech carries out monthly panel surveys among Chinese urban mobile phone users to monitor the market share changes of various brands. In China, the panel size is 27,000. Panellists were recruited from tier-1 to 5 cities and each year more than 320,000 surveys were conducted. The nature of the research methodology means it can cover the influence of smartphones sold in other countries ended up in China and avoid the confusion caused by unsold phones stocked at warehouses of distributors.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, Honor 8X was the top selling model, and Huawei or Honor models made up six out of the top ten best-selling products. The large-screen iPhone XS Max was the fourth best-selling model in the quarter, further evidence that size matters when it comes to capturing sales in China. Prices between native Chinese brands and global players like Apple continue to widen; average handset costs are down by 5% this period to ¥3,028.

In the US, Apple’s share of the OS market edged up half a percentage point to 43.7%, with Android flat at 56.0%. Dominic continues: “The top three brands – Apple, Samsung and LG – have all seen handset share growth over the year, while ZTE dipped to 1.6% in the latest quarter. Apple’s newly released iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR were the best-selling models stateside, with 6.7% and 6.1% share respectively, while its 2017 flagship iPhone X completed the top three, with 5.6% share.”

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

Editor's notes

Note 1: These countries are Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain;

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