Are consumers suffering from smartphone burnout?

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The number of people who own a smartphone has grown year over year and that growth is expected to continue. Yes there are parts of the world that still haven’t gotten their hands on smartphones but countries like the United States and South Korea are pretty populated with them. In South Korea, 88% of people own a smartphone while the United States and Israel round out the top 3 with 72 and 74%.

This brings us to our question of the day. Are consumers suffering from smartphone burnout? Particularly consumers in countries with over 50% adoption of these devices? The release of this years iPhone 7 grabbed its fair share of media coverage as usual but the excitement coming from consumers didn’t mirror the excitement of years past. Scenes like the one below are far less prevalent as consumers either pre-order online if interested or simply wait to find out from bloggers like us if the phone is actually worth their time.

Google’s Android operating system and its hardware partners have also added to the increase in smartphone adoption. With the iPhone priced so astronomically high, many consumers have turned to lower cost Android alternatives, and they seem to be satisfied with what they have. With the United States smartphone adoption rate climbing closer to triple digits, it’s no wonder that people are just not enamored with the latest smartphone anymore.

For the average users a smartphone serves a few functions: Making calls, sending texts, email, social media and pictures. While there are still those users who equate a smartphone brand with status, my feeling is that demographic has shrunk over the years. It used to be hip and popular if you owned an iPhone, it went along with drinking Starbucks or eating at Chipotle.

Now that the majority of consumers own a smartphone that can perform every function mentioned above, there is little cause to upgrade. While Apple and Android phones are trying to entice users with small hardware and software features, I truly think the average consumer isn’t biting like they used to. Smartphones have become boring. There will be a swath of users, like myself, who will probably always get the latest device because we enjoy the latest small features. But for the majority of users, there’s really nothing screaming at them to run out and buy the latest devices.

Apple, Google, and other smartphone makers are scraping the bottom of the barrel in these developed markets. This is why there’s heavy concentration on emerging markets, especially by Google and Android manufacturers. Apple is also interested in emerging markets but their high end pricing could pose a problem versus Android in those markets.

So while the focus is on emerging markets, established markets are just waiting for something new and different. The question is. Is anyone working on anything new?

Are you suffering from smartphone burnout? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Last Updated on January 23, 2017.


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