The European market, with its high-quality users and their mature payment habits, serious ad revenue and advanced technology, is a prime target for internet companies small and large. Yet because the continent has a relatively small population and high linguistic diversity, relatively few European developers, especially app developers, have been able to achieve success on a global scale. Some say that Europe's relatively mature PC technology has been a factor in its slow transition to the mobile internet, and that the European tendency to value exquisite craftsmanship is at odds with the often fast and loose style of mobile internet development, impeding mobile internet development there.
Cheetah Lab, Cheetah Mobile’s AI and mobile internet-focused research institution, compiled Cheetah Mobile’s big data to analyze the European market looking at mobile phones, apps, mobile ad trends, and its future outlook, as well as how the market is both different and similar to China’s.
Below are a few key takeaways from the report. To read the full report and learn more about China-Europe Mobile Synergy, click here.
Samsung sweeps the European market
Samsung remains the strongest Android mobile phone brand in Europe based on market share. Cheetah Lab's data shows that Samsung boasts over 50% of the Android market share in seven of the 15 European countries for which figures were calculated, including Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain, where the brand's market share was highest.
Chinese mobile phone manufacturers make headway in Europe
Although Samsung's market share in Europe is quite high, Chinese mobile phone manufacturers including Huawei, Lenovo, TCL, and Xiaomi have achieved impressive results in Europe as well. According to Cheetah Lab's January 2016 data, Chinese mobile phone brands have achieved impressive results on a global scale, with extremely high coverage in European countries such as Portugal and Belarus.
A comparison of the top 20 apps in different European countries
WhatsApp topped the rankings in both Great Britain and Germany, while other communications and social apps achieved high positions in the charts. Single-function communications apps are no longer enough to meet users' day-to-day needs, so different kinds of messaging apps have attracted different user bases.
E-commerce: Chinese apps stir things up in Europe, while local apps focus on the secondhand market
In the rankings of e-commerce apps in Great Britain, France, and Germany, international heavyweights like eBay and Amazon cast long shadows, but Chinese companies like AliExpress and Wish have also staked out territory.
Meanwhile, local apps such as Germany's eBay and France's leboncoin have positioned themselves as apps for general information and shopping. Secondhand e-commerce is also highly accepted in Europe: leboncoin, Petites annoces, and eBay Kleinanzeigen are all apps related to secondhand e-commerce.
Video: YouTube is the uncontested number one, while there are too few platforms for user-generated content
According to data released in February of 2017 by eMarketer, 42.1% of British users watched video on their mobile phones in 2016, making up 68.4% of mobile phone users and representing a year-on-year growth of 9.8%.
At 64.55%, video penetration is higher in Great Britain than in Germany or France. In the video app rankings for all three countries, YouTube is the undisputed number one by a fair margin. Aside from its abundant copyrighted content, a great amount of free user generated content is a key factor in YouTube's high user stickiness. Meanwhile, Netflix and Google, which come in just behind YouTube, are apps with backgrounds in traditional video media distribution. Their core competitiveness is formed by their streaming services, large amount of professionally generated content, and abundant copyrighted film content, which help them differentiate themselves from other competitors.
The sharing economy
The concept of the sharing economy, which is highly popular at present, has led to a range of new apps in China, and ride hailing apps, some of the first to test the waters, are a prime example.
Uber is the global leader in the ride hailing shared economy, but it was not able to outmaneuver Didi in China. Building out from its basic ride hailing functionality, Didi expanded into rental cars, carpooling, buses, test driving and test riding, cross-provincial carpooling and other services. The domestic company also integrated WeChat Wallet and coupon sharing to increase interactivity with users. In the end, Uber China's China story ended with its acquisition by Didi.
To conclude, through comparison, we have discovered that, as Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter have achieved global success, and as Asian internet companies like Naver and Xiaomi have achieved market values of over $10 billion USD, Europe's mobile internet development has not yet achieved comparable results.
One contributing factor is the relatively small population of each European country's market. Another factor is that language barriers between regions have made it harder to expand across borders. These two factors combined mean that it will be difficult for Europe's mobile internet developers to replicate the explosive success seen in places with large populations, like China and the United States.
Of course, Europe's mobile gaming industry is highly developed. European gaming companies like Gameloft and Rovio are first-class mobile game producers, which is perhaps due in part to the fact that Europe was the first content to undergo industrialization, giving it an edge in technology, and it has historically been a bastion of the arts.
As the mobile internet craze has taken the world, Europe has also joined the mobile internet era. In today's global market, the United States and China have already seen explosive growth in streaming and short video. The European market may see greater development in the near future, and the use of vertical video is likely to expand rapidly there.
Read the full report here.