In 2017, the French spent more on the purchase of their smartphone according to GFK. On average, a French person paid 380 euros for his smartphone in 2017, an increase of 6%. According to the firm, this trend is related to two phenomena: the rise in prices of high-end smartphones, and strangely still more interest for these models. However, the distribution modes are more and more varied, and the technical evolutions are minor. I explain why I will never spend more than 300 euros for a smartphone.
1159 euros is the price of the last iPhone X . A price that crosses the symbolic threshold of 1000 euros and bordering on indecency. Apple is not the only brand to have significantly increased its rates. Samsung, Huawei, Sony, LG, all manufacturers of high-end models have exploded prices. Today it takes about 900 euros to afford a high-end smartphone. In 2014 we were closer to 700 euros. Even further, it took about 600 euros.
Manufacturers argue that this increase is related to two phenomena: smartphones are more and more advanced, and the materials to make them are more rare. All this would lead to an increase in the cost of manufacture, so the final price. Against all odds, in France, this meteoric rise in prices has not dulled consumers. In 2017, according to GFK, a French spent 380 euros for the purchase of his smartphone an increase of 6%. The arrival of Chinese smartphones in France had allowed this average purchase price to fall considerably. We even went under 300 euros. But the most upscale models continue against all odds to attract customers.
Yet, despite the marketing rhetoric of brands, the report is obvious: smartphones do not evolve much . If technically we note some small advances here and there, I do not think they meet the needs of users. As editor of Phonandroid, I see dozens and dozens of smartphones scroll every year. While some are more attractive than others, none justifies the surge in prices. Even worse, none of them addresses our concerns as users. For me (and this is only my opinion), spending more than 300 euros in a smartphone does not make sense. And this for many reasons.
Models at 300 euros are largely sufficient
Smartphone manufacturers have started for years a real race to “always more”. Every year the processors are more powerful, the cameras are improved and so on. A strong element perfectly reflects this frenzy: the amount of RAM integrated into a smartphone. In a few years, we went from models integrating 2 GB of RAM to 8 GB today. And smartphones with 10 GB of RAM are already in preparation. But why ? What is the purpose of such a quantity of RAM in a smartphone? Any. Because even the most connected users do not need it. At most they will use 3 or 4 GB of RAM. And you have to go hard, with several very greedy games that run in the background.
If we look at the screens, the observation is the same. Some brands are launching smartphones with QHD screens. Some like Sony have even switched to 4K screens. Again, for what purpose? The screens are far too small on a smartphone so that the human eye can distinguish the difference between a full HD screen, QHD or 4K. Some will argue that the difference in quality is noticeable in virtual reality. Let us stop bad faith, it is a use still extremely rare.
The Honor 9 is available today at less than 300 euros, and it’s an excellent smartphone A last example? The camera. Here again the race for the best camera is frenetic. But it does not really meet the needs of users. Not all consumers are fond of photography. Most even just use the smartphone’s camera to share snapshots on social networks or to send them to their loved ones. But photo enthusiasts are not counted by the millions. But on social networks, photos are compressed. That is to say, we can use the best camera on the market, the quality will be partially degraded.
So yes all these evolutions are impressive. As a passionate I am fascinated by what brands are able to offer today. But as a consumer, you have to put things in context. If I’m a video game lover, I probably do not play on mobile. In any case, it is not my first use. I do not need the most powerful smartphone on the market. If I’m a photo enthusiast, I probably have in my possession real semi-pro or pro cameras to really make me happy. A smartphone at 300 euros will do the trick for extra photos. The price of 300 euros does not mean that it is a medium or bad smartphone. Today it is possible to find high-end models at this price. It’s just not the last issue. But is it bad?
300 euros is the price of a high-end 2 years old
As an actor in my own way in this industry, I have to take a step back. Every day I discover new products, new technologies, and I am inevitably excited by the rapid evolution of the sector. But we must also keep a cool head, and gain height, detach from the marketing speeches of the builders. Today a high-end smartphone costs nearly 1000 euros. But for Android models, the haircut is fast. Two years after its release, a high-end smartphone that was close to the 1000 euros mark is available at around 300 euros. At the time of writing, it is possible to afford a Galaxy S7 for about 300 euros.
Yes the Galaxy S7 is still an excellent high-end smartphone, and it costs about 300 euros Gold, a Galaxy S7 is enough for any user. His camera is still a reference, its processor is largely powerful enough to meet all needs, it has excellent autonomy. Even his design is still in the air. The question to ask at the time of purchase is: what do I need? And the innovations in the current version of the smartphone are worth such a difference in price? In most of the cases the 2 year old model is more than enough.
Reconditioned models, a great alternative
As revealed by GFK, the good momentum of the smartphone market is driven by the phenomenon of reconditioned smartphones. For those who do not know, reconditioned smartphones are models that offer themselves a second life after being repaired by specialists. These experts recover defective models, recycle some parts and use others to refurbish units. More and more consumers are being tempted by refurbished smartphones, for two main reasons. First the price: no longer new products, the rates go down but they still have a guarantee (often 6 months) . The other reason is more moral: a refurbished smartphone is a smartphone that has been rebuilt from existing parts. It did not require the exploitation of natural resources. It is therefore also a ecological approach to recycling materials .
Some specialists such as Recommerce offer bonus offers of recovery of your old smartphone, which further reduces the final bill, and reinforces the ecological approach. I opted for this method, and I recommend it to my entourage. A high-end smartphone from 2 years ago is more than enough for my needs. And yet I am what is called a power user, an intensive user. So yes, I also have the chance to test the latest models throughout the year.
But personally it would not occur to me to spend the equivalent of a SMIC for a smartphone . First because it would bring me nothing more than my less recent model. Then because morally I think it’s indecent to spend the equivalent of a SMIC , the salary of a worker, for a telephone. But this is only my point of view. Do not hesitate to share yours, I will discuss with you with great pleasure.