Smartphones are everywhere. Nearly everyone has one either in their pocket or in their hand and that fact would make you think that the underlying smartphone market is one that is remarkably strong. This really isn’t the case. Today, we’ll take a brief look at the smartphone market and how a lack of true innovation is one of the reasons the industry has seen large decreases in sales.
It wasn’t too long ago that the smartphone market was filled with companies looking to gain a significant market share in the industry. Since then some of the largest companies in the world have ceased their smartphone divisions. LG, Microsoft, and Amazon have stopped making smartphones altogether, while once industry leaders like Motorola have been bought and sold numerous times.
2022, in particular, was not kind to smartphone manufacturers. In fact, the whole market saw an incredible twelve percent decline. You may be thinking, “How can that be, with so many people using smartphones?” The answer comes from the fact that lots of people aren’t buying new phones every 18 months or two years like they have been for the past decade. Much of this has to do with a lack of innovation.
Smartphone manufacturers dispute that they aren’t at the forefront of innovation. Today’s budget smartphones are as good as flagships were only five short years ago. The problem is that flagships aren’t moving the needle each year with new features and form factors. Consider for a minute that for years the chipsets, the displays, the user interfaces and cameras on new flagship smartphones were greatly improved in some manner each year. For the past few years, however, there are slight improvements, but a major rise in costs. Even real innovations, such as the foldable smartphone market, haven't taken off because of the cost of the devices vs. the practical need for them.
The point is that when innovation slows, people aren’t going to jump at the chance to buy a new phone for twice as much money than they paid for a device that works well enough and has relatively the same general makeup. This is why only a handful of companies are actually turning a profit in the smartphone space. In their marketing material they speak about innovation, without proving to customers that they are pushing the space forward.
While the smartphone market is struggling to capture the imagination of its users, it’s still an extremely important part of today’s society and therefore will be invested in. So, while you may not see marked enhancements in display clarity, device speed, or security features, there are still benefits from getting a new phone every couple of years or so.
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