Smartphone adoption has slowed during the past year with the onus on maufacturers and retailers to shift perceptions about the latest devices, a new survey has said.
Research by YouGov into the smartphone sector revaled that 42% of feature phone owners want to trade up to a smartphone when they next replace their handset. Smartphone penetration has more than doubled during the past two years, although the number of consumers who want to switch to smartphones only increased by 6% since last year. The research said: 'The slow speed of this conversion if an indication that smartphone maufacturers and retailers need to do more in order to shift perception and remedy concerns about rejection amongst feature phone owners.'
More than half of feature phone owners (55%) said they were happy with their current device, with 47% saying they had no need for a smartphone. The price of smartphones put off 32% of feature phone owners, 30% cited expensive tariffs and a sixth said smartphones were too complex to use.
Feature phones are still predominately popular among female consumers (56%). The number of owners aged 55 and older has shifted from 38% two years ago to 51% now, suggesting younger consumers are shifting their attention to smartphones. The majority (64%) of feature phone owners are on prepay, with contract penetration declining steadily to 28% this year.
Popular sources of feature phones are from friends and family (12%), Tesco (10%) and Argos (4%). Just under a third of consumers (28%) bought their feature phones directly from an operator, compared to more than half of all smartphone owners (55%).
Russell Feldman, associate director at YouGov's technology and telecoms team said: 'There is certainly an opportunity for feature phone owners to take advantage of several low-end smartphones currently on the market. Manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung, as well as OEM handsets, are successful at attracting low-end smartphone users and could potentially help convert feature phone users – especially as there is an increase of pay-as-you-go in the smartphone market.
'The ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work in this instance and customer service needs to be tailored to suit the requirements of the customer. The groups that are rejecting smartphones do not usually find empathetic sales staff in the retailers they frequent. This is a matter of salesforce training for operators and retailers.'
Editor: Graeme Neill