Did iPhone Sales Just Slip in These Huge Markets?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) appears to have lost some market share in Western Europe as the overall demand for smartphones in this market has declined. According to the latest IDC statistics, the iPhone maker saw its total unit shipments to the Western European smartphone market decline by 11 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) grew the number of its unit shipments by 31 percent from the first quarter of 2012, giving it a 45 percent share of the Western European smartphone market in the first quarter of this year. Apple took second place in this market with a 20 percent share, while Sony (NYSE:SNE) ranked third with a 10 percent share in the first quarter of 2013.

Source: IDC.com

IDC noted that the overall mobile phone market in Western Europe has slowed recently, with first quarter shipments this year increasing by only 12 percent compared to the same period last year. This is the lowest rate of growth seen since IDC started tracking the market in 2004.

According to IDC, Western Europe has entered a “second wave of smartphone adoption” that is driven primarily by “users with no need for a smartphone” who will therefore “buy one of the cheapest smartphones as they still see no value for money.” These buyers will mostly benefit makers of low-end smartphones, such as Samsung.