6/11/2008 11:05:00 AM
Supermarket prepay surge
Supermarkets and other non-specialist retailers are taking almost half of the prepay market, according to the latest figures from market research company GfK.
Prepay sales are believed to be hovering between 230,000 and 250,000 per week across the whole industry.
Non-specialist retailers are taking market share from the likes of Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u, as well as networks’ own stores. Non-specialists have increased their share of the prepay market from 39% in March 2007 to 47% in March this year. With contract sales of mobile phones slowing, it has forced manufacturers and operators to look at the prepay market.
Supermarkets like Asda have benefited from the recent boom in low-end handsets. A spokesman for Asda said that its £5 phone promotion in April saw the entire 60,000 stock fly off the shelf in a few days.
Meanwhile, Tesco was selling phones for half their trade price in March.
Asda told Mobile that the rise in sales is not only the result of cut-price handsets, but is also due to an increase in the range that it stocks.
‘We have increased our range of phones, so if people didn’t want the £5 handset they didn’t have to go elsewhere for a phone,’ he said.
Woolworths has also looked at diversifying its offering and is set to start selling prepay dongles this summer.
Sainsbury’s is also gunning for a bigger share of the prepay market and is increasing the number of stores it sells phones in from 150 to 300.
Supermarkets and other mass merchants are still almost a negligible force in the contract market, where their share is less than 1%.
However, Tesco seems to be on course to change this. The supermarket’s standalone telecoms stores are connecting contract customers at a rate of more than 1,000 per month.