Smartphones that cost less than $200 currently account for a third of the market, which is up from 18 percent a year ago. While lacking the latest features, like fingerprint scanners and heart rate monitors, these cheaper smartphone models are perfectly capable of executing standard smartphone tasks such as accessing the internet and taking pictures. Cheaper smartphones typically cost less than a third of higher priced smartphones, like the latest iPhone model or Samsung’s Galaxy which can cost upwards of $600.
Some companies straddle both ends of the price spectrum offering both high priced smartphones with cutting edge features and lower priced models. Nokia offers their Lumia smartphone at two drastically different prices. The Lumia 635 goes for $179 compared to the Lumia Icon which costs $550. Other companies specialize in lower priced mobile phones like ZTE Corp. ZTE offers phones ranging from $280 at the most to under $100.
“There’s a certain status to carrying an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, as an example, but there are also people who say, ‘I want a good, reliable phone, but I’m not willing to spend as much money on that,” says David Owens, a senior vice-president at wireless carrier Sprint Corp.
Most consumers who own an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy pay closer to $200 than $600 for their smartphones. This is due to phone companies subsidizing the price of the smartphones in exchange for a promise of a two-year contract from consumers. This is in contrast to those who buy the cheaper phones without contract. In this context the uptick of cheaper phones show more people are willing to take smartphones with fewer features that cost a similar price in order to avoid more expensive monthly plans. Consumers who opt for contract free phones at a lower price are often first time smartphone owners and often prefer prepaid plans.
Read More – Cheaper Smartphones Gain Popularity Among Consumers (CBCNews, Anick Jesdanun)