The US is leading the feature phone resurgence

they call you Digital Detox, i.e. detoxification of digital devices. It’s a battle happening in America, led by Gen Z and Millennials.
And it’s the main reason why I feature phoneson the US market, live a new life.

In fact, Gen Z and Millennials are supporting this technological counter-revolution to defend against health issues (including mental health issues) caused by smartphones and social media.

like hashtags #bringbackfliphones On TikTok, they’ve garnered millions of views, prompting younger people to make greater use of feature phones, which benefits a more minimalist and “disconnected” lifestyle. Given the relatively low price of feature phones (ranging from $20 to $50 when purchased from a carrier or $50 to $100 when purchased on the open market), more and more people are approaching these devices and sharing their experiences in the social media .

The main players in the market

The market is flooded with brands eyeing feature phones. TCL extension And HMD extension They are market leaders in their segment in the US, but there is competition from Schok, Sonim and white-label manufacturers like Tinno, which make deals with phone operators to market products under different brands.
When smartphones came out, they were already widespread in the American market. Because of this, the feature phone segment had shrunk significantly over the past 10 years. Currently, the feature phone market accounts for just over 2% of total mobile phone sales. But – as already mentioned – there are those who have never completely abandoned this segment. Such is the case for TCL, which tops the sales rankings with a 43% share ahead of HMD at 26%.

Agreements between carriers and manufacturers play an important role. The Big Three US Operators – AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile – examine different options for the introduction of feature phones.

Therefore, there is also room for manufacturers smaller than TCL, like Tinno and FIH, who produce devices for AT&T. Sonim and Kyocera, on the other hand, supply Verizon with rugged devices, while Schok and Hot Pepper supply T-Mobile.

It is expected that the Feature phone sales will reach 2.8 million in 2023with short-term stable numbers.
While the growth may not be huge, demand for feature phones from consumers looking for a digital detox tool will continue to grow.

Many companies are also looking at it with great interest B2B channel, expected to grow. In fact, feature phones can reduce the budget for companies to purchase communication tools.

What consumers expect from modern feature phones

On the one hand, there’s a large consumer base looking for minimalist devices; On the other hand, these same consumers want phones that are basic but also come with advanced features that allow them to stay connected. However, the design and specs of feature phones have changed little over the past few years, which is one of the biggest slowing factors in their growth.

Just the addition of some new (and more modern) hardware features that keep up with recent technological trends could open the door for wider adoption of these models. One of them is theNFC, which can enable faster payments, smart home management and pairing, and provide easier and more convenient access to public transportation. Likewise the eSIM They could be an important hardware integration to lure consumers into using a feature phone as a companion device, which they can easily switch to from their main device if they don’t want to carry around their “beautiful and expensive” smartphone.

In short, there is no lack of request. Now we need to design new feature phones to meet the expectations of a consumer audience that is more demanding today than in the past, starting from smartphones. So consumers who want to switch off, but not completely.

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