It’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell a customer a new handset. The difference between last year’s model and this year’s model is not sufficient to make customers fork out their hard-earned cash to upgrade it seems.

The trend is to hang onto handsets for longer. A behaviour that was first identified in the US. Back in 2016, an eMarketer study found that 42% of customers were holding onto their handsets for an extra year (meaning that handsets were renewed at around 3 years).

The global handset market shrunk by 9% in Q1 2018 in terms of volume, the biggest fall recorded. Handset manufacturers are responding by increasing their prices and launching more handsets. Crazy eh? But as ITProPortal commented  the last few weeks have seen a plethora of new handset offerings from Samsung, Google, Huawei and Apple.

These devices offer lots of new features such as larger displays, facial recognition technology and cloud storage. Features that are used to justify a big price tag. But are they features that customers actually want? Apparently, customers are only luke warm on these innovations, with the UK now matching the US with an upgrade cycle of just short of 3 years.

According to research from GfK (2017), the most desired improved feature in a handset is not AI or Cloud or facial recognition, it’s something a lot more mundane. 50% of customers cite battery life as the thing they’re most interested in. This is seen as so important that it even out-ranks lower prices.

I don’t have to explain to you why. Charging is the new crack. Like everyone else, I bet you’ve gone on a desperate search for an open socket while on your travels. For B2B service providers, the battery issue is even more critical than for B2C providers.

Business customers rely on their phones for a whole host of power-hungry applications when on the move. And while ruggedization might be handy in certain verticals, battery life is a feature that appeals to the vast majority of business users. Fixing the power problem is therefore a key value point to consider in your B2B handset strategy.



Posted by Teresa Cottam

Teresa is the Chief Analyst at Omnisperience and has over 25 years' experience in the telecoms and technology markets. She is an expert on SME and enterprise telecoms, and has considerable vertical market expertise. Her research focus lies in helping B2B telecoms firms become more commercially successful by better understanding and meeting their customers' needs. She is a judge of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GloMo's) for customer experience and enterprise innovation, and for the UK Cloud awards. You can follow her on Twitter @teresacottam

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