Online Smartphone Sales Sustain Growth in UK, Germany, Spain

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While a cheaper deal is important, UK smartphone consumers are looking at convenience most, even after COVID-19

Just as in other parts of the world, European countries have been hit hard by COVID-19 when it comes to smartphone sales. Our latest Consumer Lens surveys reveal that many consumers here have opted for reduction in budget for the next smartphone and extension of ownership period before the next purchase. In a silver lining of sorts, a higher than normal growth has been witnessed in online smartphone purchases.

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Reasons for Choosing a Purchase Source (Graphic: Counterpoint Consumer Lens)

In this article, we cover three big markets in Europe — United Kingdom, Germany and Spain — to understand consumer preferences for the modes of next purchase, based on the Consumer Lens surveys.

Offline vs Online

With ~35% of smartphone sales in the UK happening online, the proportion of online sales has gradually increased since Q1 2020. Interestingly, this growth was sustained even after the physical stores opened following the COVID-19 triggered lockdowns.

A big proportion of consumers in the UK would ideally want to experience the purchase in a more engaged manner. For example, buyers opting for upfront payments are less likely to choose online sources like Amazon.com or Buymobile.com. Our survey reveals that for more than 90% of the respondents, electronic stores and supermarkets are among the first three channel options.

Other countries prefer online modes:

In Germany, 35% of the respondents purchased their current phone online. For their next purchase, online is one of the main channels for 95% of the respondents.

In Spain, this proportion was 30% for current smartphones. For the next purchase, 76% chose online as one of the main channels.

What drives consumers