The latest smartphone sales figures make for bleak reading for the big brands. For the first time on record, global smartphone sales have fallen, down by 5.6% in the last quarter of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Have we fallen out of love with smartphones?
According to analysts at Gartner, almost 408 million smartphones were sold around the world in the final three months of last year.
Sounds impressive, but in the same period last year, 24 million more smartphones were sold. That equates to a 5.6% fall and the first year-on-year decline since the research firm began tracking the market in 2004.
So why are sales figures down? Gartner reckons it’s down to two factors:
- Low-cost smartphones are poorer value than high-quality feature/simple phones
- People are keeping their expensive smartphones longer because they can’t afford to keep upgrading
Reading your comments in a recent conversation about simple phones, I don’t think this comes as a surprise.
These highlighted just how good simple phones have become and how negatively some of you feel towards the big brands that charge an arm and a leg for the latest models.
Moya Stewart summed up the thoughts of many, saying:
‘I am very content with my Doro phone, I can make calls, text, use MMS, take pictures and press the button on the back, which automatically cascades calls to family if I need help. It has large buttons and a decent-sized screen, too.’
Clive M added:
‘I had no interest in possessing a mobile phone until it became necessary to be contactable when not at home. I now have the simplest type possible and see no need for anything more complex.’
The end of our throwaway culture?
Our data shows that cheaper ‘smart’ phones sometimes offer less value for money with inferior cameras, poor performance and shorter battery life.
So why buy one when it’s going to offer a disappointing experience in the long run?
If you choose to buy an expensive smartphone, such as the £1,000 iPhone X, replacing it after two years or even selling it at a reduced price, is rightly hard to justify.
There aren’t many product categories we review and test at Which? where the buyer is expected to get rid of their product under two years later. Imagine regretfully boxing up your flatscreen telly 18 months after you bought it? You’d call it total madness. So why are smartphones any different?
Perhaps we’re finally beginning to call time on the culture of throwaway tech?
Over to you
I’d be interested to see why you choose to replace your smartphone, or whether you even feel as though you have a choice about it when you do. Perhaps you’re more confident in keeping a phone for longer, and are better at saying ‘no’ to your mobile provider when they offer you an ‘upgrade’. Or maybe it’s because you’re fed up of big phone companies charging huge prices for tech they hope you’ll want to replace. On the flipside, perhaps you’re perfectly happy to get a brand new phone every 18 months…