Is that true, or did mid-range smartphones simply become more expensive?
The market analysts of Counterpoint Research expect that in 2023 there will be about 6 percent more premium (high-end) smartphones than the year before. Compared to seven years ago, in 2016, the sales market share of that category of smartphones would amount to 24 percent. In other words, by 2023, almost one in four new smartphones sold would be a high-end model.
Mid-range smartphones on the decline, or is something else going on?
In a market where the mid-range smartphone has been gaining ground for years, this is at least a special development. The question is of course… how is that possible? Are a quarter of smartphone buyers worldwide suddenly more interested in devices such as the iPhone 14 and 15 (Pro) (Max) or the Galaxy S23 (Plus) (Ultra)? Or is there perhaps something else going on?
Well… In any case, we must conclude that the price category of premium devices no longer fully corresponds to current practice. Everything from 600 euros is considered a premium smartphone. Meanwhile, (new versions) of devices that were seen for years as affordable alternatives to the much more expensive high-end smartphones have become part of the premium segment due to price increases and evolution. And of course it gives a skewed picture when it comes to the number of ‘premium’ devices that have been sold.
However, Counterpoint Research analysts claim that consumers are increasingly willing to spend more money on their smartphones because these gadgets have increasingly become an indispensable and very important part of our daily (work) lives. There is certainly some truth in that, but given the current price tags on many smartphones from Samsung and Apple, the real premium category should not start at 600, but at least at 800 euros. And then I think the volume graph below would look very different.
More price-conscious buyers
Of course, Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy S series are still top sellers and exceptionally good devices. But unlike ten years ago, the smartphone market now also has many price-conscious buyers. People who do not want to, or cannot, simply spend 800, 1000, 1200 or even more than 1500 euros for a smartphone. And unlike ten years ago, affordable smartphones are no longer inferior to the more expensive ‘flagship’ devices in terms of specifications and performance.
Nowadays you can buy a smartphone for 450 to 500 euros, even from one of the A-brands (except Apple), that does everything the average customer needs. In other words: paying between 500 and 1000+ euros extra for a premium smartphone is overkill. You simply can’t see it anymore.