Nokia-branded devices accounted for 3.5 percent of European smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2018, according to industry analysis firm Canalys. That puts Nokia in fifth place with 1.6 million devices shipped. This is despite an overall decline of 6.3 percent in smartphone shipments during the same period.

The HMD Global-operated brand maintained its position since the fourth quarter of 2017, during a period of "smartphone fatigue" in which the two top vendors in the region, Samsung and Apple, slipped by 15.4 and 5.4 percent, respectively. The two giants—as well as Huawei and Xiaomi—are still handily outperforming Nokia, however.

But Nokia's performance versus more established smartphone brands in Europe is still commendable, considering its devices haven't been available for very long. Canalys attributes the relatively quick adoption to HMD's carrier relationships built on feature phones, saying it's used them "to get its new smartphones ranged across Europe."