Pixel 6 pushes Google into UK top 5, but Samsung and Apple continue to rule

Pixel 6 pushes Google into UK top 5, but Samsung and Apple continue to dominate
Google has been criticized for its decision to limit the Pixel series to a handful of markets like the US and Japan. But a new report reveals that this approach is starting to pay off in at least one country: the UK.

The Pixel 6 line pushes Google into the UK's top 5

Francisco Jeronimo of IDC reports that Google become the fifth largest smartphone brand in the UK at the start of 2022, marking the first time that Google’s Pixel line has entered the top 5. The company shipped 163,900 Pixel phones between January and March, enough to secure a 3.3% market share and marking a significant improvement over the 50,900 units sold in the first three months of 2021.

Google is still a relatively small player in the UK, but these results suggest that the Pixel line may have finally found a winning formula. The Pixel 6 duo introduced an all-new design language coupled with a custom processor — Google Tensor. The launch was also backed by a huge marketing campaign, not to mention availability at all four major UK carriers: Vodafone, Three, O2, and EE.

Pixel shipments are likely to decline in the current quarter as the Pixel 6 flagships start to age, but demand should pick up over the summer months once the mid-range Pixel 6a hits the market ahead of the Pixel 7 launch in October.

The Apple-Samsung duopoly is strong in the UK

Ahead of Google in the UK market were Oppo and HMD Global (Nokia). The former shipped 205,900 units and commanded a 4.2% share, whereas the latter was ahead by a small margin with 210,700 units and a 4.3% share.

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Ultimately, though, the UK market is dominated by the Apple-Samsung duopoly. The two brands accounted for a combined market share of 80.3% in the first quarter of 2022, up from 75% at the start of 2021 thanks to Samsung’s strong performance. It’s also noted that Samsung and Apple generated 89% of revenue.

The South Korean manufacturer shipped 1.58 million smartphones in the UK, up from 900,000 units. Its performance wasn’t detailed, although the Galaxy S21 FE and Galaxy S22 launches are presumed to have played an important role.

Apple, on the other hand, boasted a 48.4% market share. That’s down year-on-year, likely because of the iPhone 12’s delayed launch and demand. Nevertheless, total shipments did increase to 2.4 million units as the overall UK market returned to growth following a period of strict lockdowns in 2021.

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