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Samsung remains the smartphone of choice in key European countries—at least among consumers buying a new handset. The firm was behind the bestselling smartphones in both France and Germany in 2013, according to Counterpoint, which tracks sales for a number of consumer electronics categories in many countries every month.
In France, long one of Samsung’s most buoyant European markets, the brand captured four of the top five spots in terms of 2013 smartphone sales volumes. The four models included the Galaxy S3 mini, the Galaxy S3 and S4, and the popular phablet Galaxy Note II.
Samsung also performed well in Germany last year, with the Galaxy S4 and S3 mini ranking first and second, respectively. Overall, Galaxy devices occupied half of the top 10 list and claimed more than 40% of the total market.
Apple’s iPhone 5 placed third in Germany, and the iPhone 5s sneaked into fourth place—a strong showing for a model that launched just four months before year-end. Together, Samsung and Apple occupied nine of the top 10 sales spots and captured 60% of the German handset market. The HTC One rose to 10th place, thanks largely to gains in Q2 2013.
This dominance in the sales charts is a great result for Samsung, which has worked hard to compete with Apple in the exploding market for web-enabled phones. In early 2013, for example, Adobe found that Samsung’s share of mobile internet traffic was well behind Apple’s in key global markets—though the gap was already smaller in France and Germany than elsewhere. Judging by Counterpoint’s figures, the current trend is moving Samsung’s way.
Yet the battle for audience share has a long way to run. Last year, less than 48% of mobile phone users in Western Europe had a smartphone, eMarketer estimates, and there are millions of potential customers to address—even in markets such as France and Germany, where smartphone penetration among residents with mobile phones will pass 50% this year.
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