It has been a full decade since the launch of the first iPhone, and it’s easy to forget that life used to be simple for smartphone manufacturers.
Around the same time each year, consumers would wait fervently for the launch of the latest new gizmo. There was plenty of time to create hype, whether it was a large screen, water resistance, or a game-changing camera.
But plenty has changed in the past decade. These days, marketers of smartphones have an increasingly tougher job.
Here’s why.
Not exactly “me too”. After years of playing catch-up in the technology department, smaller and newer brands have arrived while local brands are also expanding globally. Features on smartphones are becoming almost identical, therefore making it virtually impossible to stand out for having a “great product”. For example, although smartphones are priced according to categories such as mid and high range, most smartphone brands today offer a minimum full HD screen resolution of 1920 x 1080. In our POS tracking, we noticed that a majority of the smartphones purchased in ASEAN last year were phones with this screen resolution, although prices varied according to the brands.
Longer is not always better. Consumers are keeping their smartphones for longer as telcos have halted short-term mobile phone contracts. This could mean that consumers are less likely to purchase new phones on a whim.
Too fast too furious. With consumers keeping their phones for longer and new models being introduced to the marketplace at a faster rate, brands now have a shorter time window to effectively market their smartphones.
And whilst you might think expensive smartphones might be slightly more protected against obsolescence, the reverse is true: our data in Asia shows that higher-priced smartphones have an average lifespan of just 14 months. Their cheaper counterparts? 16 months.
What does this mean?
A combination of all the

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