Old smartphones are good enough for South Africans

Top-end smartphones continue to offer fantastic new features to customers. The latest innovation that has got smartphone fans excited is foldable displays.

Samsung, Apple, and Huawei are all in the process of developing foldable smartphones, and the new technology is expected to be released in 2019.

Beyond features like foldable displays, top-end smartphones offer first-class performance thanks to their powerful hardware.

However, as smartphones continue to improve, their price tags keep going up.

The iPhone Xs Max costs R31,999 in South Africa, while Samsung’s upcoming S10 range is expected cost even more than this.

Consumers are not happy with these high prices, and Apple’s iPhone Xs and Xr have suffered from poor sales – a decrease of 15% compared to previous results.

Many consumers are choosing to buy cheaper smartphones instead, which offer better value for money.

To find out what the situation is in South Africa, MyBroadband spoke to smartphone experts about what consumers are, and should, be buying.

Mid-tier smartphone popularity

AppleDoctor MD Sean Joffe told MyBroadband that mid-tier smartphones have “massively outsold” flagship devices.

“Consumers are no longer willing to just splash out to acquire the latest and greatest, as the cost benefit simply no longer make sense,” said Joffe.

He added that buying a top-end iPhone is still a relatively smart decision, however, because they are “made of premium materials, offer better security, and are more likely to hold their resale value”.

Megan Quy, marketing manager at WeFix, said they have also seen an increase in customers interested in mid-range smartphones.

“There is a new market emerging as more and more people become employed and want an efficient smartphone with good specs, but don’t wish to spend their salary on it,” said Quy.

The value of a big brand

According to Quy, however, it is important to choose a respectable smartphone brand – even if you’re not buying a top-end device.

“We must all remember that some channels of society feel safe when they are within an ecosystem that is familiar,” said Quy.

“So owning a good brand still holds some merit, even if it’s not the top brand.”

She added that different customers seek different things from their smartphone, and this will inform whether they choose a big brand as well as what level of device they will use.

“For some, they want a luxury smartphone because they can afford one, because it fashionable, or because they see an alignment of values with the manufacturer,” said Quy.

Old technology is good enough for many

Joffe said that the majority of their dealings are with older iPhones, due to the soundness of their construction.

“The tendency is to shop down and seek more value,” said Joffe.

“Our top-selling iPhones remained the iPhone 6 and iPhone 8 in January, followed by iPhone Xr – the best-selling in the new range.”

Joffe added that the bulk of AppleDoctor’s repairs were on older models because they still have enormous longevity.

Quy said the phone WeFix repairs the most is the iPhone 6, while the iPhone 5s is also a popular repair option.

“There has been an increase in iPhone 7 repairs which will see an upward trajectory as the iPhone 5 starts to decline,” Quy added.

“This shows that there is still a strong trend to repair versus replace and that giving the customer the right to repair holds much value.”

Now read: We have big plans for the South African smartphone market – Huawei

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Old smartphones are good enough for South Africans