By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 07, 2013 11:41 AM EDT
iPhone sales in Europe are not exactly surging, and for a good reason: they're too expensive, while Android handsets are notably more accessible.
The simple reason why Android smartphones are more popular in Europe compared to Apple's iPhone is very simple, according to the CEO of one of the largest wireless carriers in Europe: it all comes down to pricing.
According to Stephane Richard, the CEO of France Telecom, European customers are becoming increasingly more budget-conscious, which is affecting sales of more expensive mobile phones.
"Customers are more focused on price," the CEO told Bloomberg. "Except for a few hundred thousand people who will buy the latest iPhone - except for that category of people - the majority of the market will be difficult."
The Eurozone crisis may still be making ravages, or Europeans may simply be more pennywise, but the reality is undeniable: Android handsets are far more popular than iPhones. Richard further explains that more customers are seeking cheaper wireless service and are holding onto their devices for longer, even as they switch carriers.
"We are in a period of changing consumer behavior," adds the CEO. "There are fewer early adopters, and probably with the next release of the iPhone this will be evident. Selling a phone for $600 is getting more and more difficult."
Back in November, data from market research firm IDC showed that Android seized 75 percent of the world's smartphone market share, while Apple managed to grab less than 15 percent. Kandar Worldpanel ComTech reported similar results the same month, with Android continuing to surge in terms of market share across Europe, while iOS slowly spiraled downward.
To address such issues, many analysts strongly believe that Apple needs to launch a lower-cost iPhone. While the company is faring well in the U.S., analysts note that a cheaper iPhone could boost both earnings and market share in other regions, including Europe. If rumors prove to be true, Apple may be aware of this solution and preparing to launch a bigger, cheaper smartphones made of plastic, which could hit store shelves as early as next year. This cheaper iPhone would purportedly be an alternative to Apple's more costly, high-end aluminum iPhones. Could Apple regain market share in Europe with a cheaper iPhone?
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