Europeans Plan to Buy IPhones

Europeans Plan to Buy IPhones

Twice as many European smartphone owners plan to buy an iPhone, rather than an Android handset, suggesting Apple’s competitors have their work cut out for them.

Forty percent of Europeans are eyeing an iPhone, while just 19 percent plan to buy Google’s Android platform, according to market research firm Yankee Group. Seventeen percent will opt for a BlackBerry, while 15 percent will go for Nokia.

“These findings highlight the continued strength of Apple in the European smartphone market and, in particular, its phenomenal brand appeal,” said Declan Lonergan, Yankee Group’s research vice president. “The data also highlights the enormous challenges faced by Nokia and RIM to retain mind share and market share in this increasingly dynamic and competitive marketplace.”

The numbers suggest that a radical realignment of the European market is in the works. For example, Apple and Nokia were roughly tied in the first quarter for smartphone sales in western Europe, according to IDC.

Nokia, which hemorrhaged half its smartphone market share on its home turf over the past year, won’t be gaining any ground if Yankee’s respondents stick to their plans.

On the other hand, the research firm collected its data before the N9 announcement, and despite a leak, the Windows phone from the Nokia-Microsoft collaboration remains to be seen. Both developments have the potential to shift consumer attitudes.

Revolutionary breakthroughs appear less likely from the other players. After a high-speed incursion into the European market, the advance of Android-based handsets from Samsung, HTC and others looks to be slowing and possibly reversing under the Apple onslaught.

Research in Motion’s BlackBerry line is slated for a refresh with the company’s new QNX platform, but despite recent executive reassurances that such devices are on the way, the launch window remains a mystery. It’s also uncertain whether the new smartphones will be game-changers for RIM after the QNX-equipped PlayBook entered the market with a whimper.

Yankee’s survey polled 5,000 consumers and 2,250 “employees and IT decision makers” across five western European countries.

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