Consumers are bored of new smartphone handsets?
Remember when a smart phone was a big deal? When clamshell phones were in? Seems like ages ago, right? Well, it seems smartphones have been with us so long that we’re actually now suffering from "smartphone fatigue", which is apparently A Thing, which means we really can’t be bothered to rush out and get the latest handset, and we’d rather see what contract benefits we can get instead.
Part of the problem appears to be that makers like Samsung, HTC and Sony are updating their flagship handsets every year, but rather than getting caught in the upgrade cycle, more and more budget conscious consumers are instead opting for cheaper tariffs over newer phones.
Research from USwitch found the top Android manufacturers saw declining sales for subsequent updates of new handsets. For example, the HTC One (M8) saw sales through the networks 23% lower at launch than its predecessor, the One (M7). Samsung fared worse, with the Galaxy S5 posting 33% fewer sales than the S4, but the biggest crash was for Sony, whose strategy of releasing two new ‘flagship’ models every year isn't working. The Xperia Z2 undersold the Z1 by 42%, while the Z3 sold 60% fewer handsets at launch than the Z1.
According to USwitch, consumers ranked ease of use, good signal quality and battery life as the most important aspects of a new phone, and are therefore unimpressed with the long list of new features manufactures have crammed into their top models in recent years. This has actually led to an increase in SIM-only plans where consumers are opting to keep their older handsets instead of upgrading, and moving to a much cheaper SIM-only deal once their contract ends, helped by new software updates making old phones feel fresher and newer without needing a replacement.
Apple, however, has fared better, with increased sales for new phones, although there are signs that fatigue is seeting in here too. The iPhone 5s outsold the 5 at their comparative launches by 40%, but the most recent model, the iPhone 6, outperformed the 5s by just 25%.