Smartphone industry in 2019

Most want a phone that works – price is going overboard.

Joe and Jane Average want a phone that works and won’t cost them the earth. We call them the savvy consumer and their understanding of what they need and what is under the bonnet is increasing.

More and more find they can get similar features [to a flagship] for half or less of the price.

Have you noticed that the average flagship plan is typically $80 to $100+ per month or more plus the handset repayment? More buyers are going to monthly pre-paid to save lots of money.

Where once it was hard to leave the iOS ecosystem – it is now becoming much easier with Android and certain apps.

Blind brand devotion is falling

People now understand that you don’t need to spend 1,000 dollars or more to get a well-featured phone.

Smartphone industry in 2019

We’re starting to see the rise of a new consumer group. This group is disillusioned by advertising and overly marketed products. They are not looking for the bells and whistles and just want a good quality phone, with long-lasting battery and great specs at a reasonable price. This group is really what has given birth to the mid-range smartphone market and what is challenging the larger handset players.

Motorola has a 64% upgrade retention rate (from one Motorola model to the next) and many return buyers. About 20% of our buyers skipped a generation and came back to Motorola after they have tried another brand. Motorola is a powerful and respected brand and with Lenovo’s backing elicits more brand loyalty than smartphone only companies.

What is a typical buyer?

In the end, it comes down to price, design, features and brand. If two brands have similar featured phones at the same price brand ‘cred’ wins. If money is a key motivator ‘specs’ win. And if you don’t care, then ‘Shallow Hal’ looks win.

Motorola has a lot of different consumers, and we can see that when we look at our retailers. Officeworks buyers are technical – bang-for-buck. If you go to JB Hi-Fi, you are a typical consumer and want recommendations that may end up costing a little more. If you like Good Guys, you are after a bargain.

You cannot compare Apples with oranges.

Apple has done a magnificent job in establishing an aspirational brand and makes the highest average revenue per user of any company.  Although innate trust in Apple is not as strong as it was with Android globally now taking up 87% of the smartphone market.

Joe and Jane Average fall into two categories, and we can only speak for Motorola here.

About 50% of our website traffic is to the product cover page where they see lifestyle images and unique selling propositions. Interestingly about half then click over to a detailed specification page and spend a lot of time looking at the specs and value – bang-for-buck.

Of the other 50% most land on the specification page ignoring the marketing pages. They are driven by a mix of the brand (if it is Motorola then it is good) and specifications (they want pure Android One and a Qualcomm based device).

Lifespan is now measured in months, not years

Whereas once a handset was good for three to four years – yes, it lasts that long – the flood of new features overhyped by advertisers and ‘fear of missing out’ is seeing that turnover reduced to about 12 to 18 months. We still build to last!

Most telco’s now encourage you to upgrade after 12 months if you are on a lease locking you into the Telco ecosystem as well. Buy a phone outright and shop around for telco deals.