The European smartphone market has grown by 35 percent over the past 12 months from 97.7 million owners in October 2011 to 131.5 million people in October 2012, putting smartphone penetration in the region at 54.6 percent of all mobile phone users.
The figures, published Monday by comScore also reveal that of the five leading European markets -- the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy -- Spain has the highest smartphone penetration in Europe at 63.2 percent, followed by the UK with 62.3 percent while only 51.4 percent of French mobile phone users own smartphones.
Europe-wide, Android accounts for 46.6 percent of the market while Apple holds 20 percent. Yet, in the UK at least, Apple remains the top smartphone brand with 8.6 million owners, or 28 percent of the market. Samsung is up to second place with a 24 percent share (up from an 11.2% share in 2011), while RIM is holding out in third place with a 15.2 percent share.
However, despite being the single most popular handset on sale in the UK, as with the rest of Europe, Android is the leading operating system, and Samsung has become the region's most popular handset maker, accounting for 30.4 percent of all smartphones in the region over the last quarter.
The in-depth figures, that are based on active handsets rather than smartphone shipments, cover the period from July to October 2012 and therefore will not reflect the impact of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 launch -- handsets didn't start rolling out to users until November -- and only account for one month's sales of Apple's latest iPhone, which was launched across mainland Europe in September.