The 5G auction finally ended in June 2019, decided in favour of the operators Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica and 1&1 Drillisch. The 5G developments will not only shape the whole country’s infrastructure when it comes to digitisation but will also have an impact on the mobile phone landscape.
Overall mobile phones volume sales dropped in 2019 as smartphone sales have reached maturity. Within this saturated landscape, smartphone usage has become much more versatile.
There is no doubt that sales of feature phones have been massively cannibalised by the rise of the smartphone, and this trend is expected to continue. However, the trend of the smartphone displacing the feature phone in Germany is happening at a slower pace than in other countries.
With its well-established Samsung smartphones, Samsung continues to have a comfortable lead in overall mobile phones in Germany. Nonetheless, its volume share declined in both 2018 and 2019, not only due to previous product scandals, but, more significantly, due to the rise of Huawei as a key player in smartphones.
As the trade war between China and the US escalated, one of the most affected companies was Huawei, as it stands accused by the US of working too closely with the Chinese government. Due to this accusation, the American company Google was forced in 2019 to withdraw its “Android” operating system – formerly known for its open-source approach – from Huawei phones worldwide.
By 2019, the demand for feature phones meant it had almost become a niche product in Germany, although with a population the size Germany has, sales still exceeded one million handsets in this year. The sales are typically replacement purchases either for the elderly population, who find the use of keys rather than touchscreen more user-friendly and the basic functions of a feature phone sufficient, or consumers who are on a digital detox or buying for retro purposes.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Electronics market research database.