Amazingly, Apple’s iPhone represents just 4% of the European mobile market despite its CEO Steve Jobs touting that iPhone 4 will sell 1 million handsets this week upon launch.

New data from comScore has put the tech giant in its place today as it reveals Apple has just 18% of the smartphone market across five European nations – the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

However, the iPhone has facilitated “fundamental change” in mobile user behaviour and ignited fierce competition among device and operating system (OS) providers, says the researcher.

iPhone owners are the most voracious consumers of mobile media with 94% using mobile media, 87% using apps and 85% browsing the mobile internet.

With just a 4% share of the European market, iPhone users represent only 12% of all mobile media users.

Shocked? I certainly was, but only because of the volume in which Apple often blows its own trumpet.

Analysts have this week said the iPhone may top 2 million sales by the end of this week with the new iPhone 4 selling 1 million. This really does change everything, as Steve Jobs said just a few weeks ago. But it hasn’t changed market share much yet 2 although it certainly has had the competition shaking in their boots and rush new technologies, handsets and operating systems to market in order to compete.

The European smartphone market is growing 38% year-on-year, but the most recent year has seen some significant developments.

In the past 12 months, although the dominant OS, Symbian, gained device owners, market momentum has now moved to the North American operating systems of RIM, Apple and Google, each of which has grown by substantial percentage over the past year.

Jeremy Copp, Vice President Mobile Europe at comScore, said, “To date the iPhone has had a disproportionate impact on the European mobile market considering its relatively modest installed base of around 10 million.

“It has catalysed the consumption of mobile media and opened the eyes of brands to mobile as an engaging marketing medium. However, it has also prompted other device manufacturers and OS vendors to elevate their game so the poster-child of the smartphone generation now faces serious competition.”

The market researcher has named Google’s Android as “the one to watch” as it gained 1.7 million users in a particularly short period of time.


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