Smartphone usage on the rise as prices fall

A leading US market research company has found that companies like Blackberry and Apple have helped boost the sales of smartphones in the marketplace, but despite this move to more technologically advanced handsets, the average price of phones are falling.

According to the NPD Group’s Mobile Phone Track report, there was a three per cent decline in average handset prices in the third quarter of 2009, this is reasoned on various buy-one-get-one-free offers and other price reductions.

The average purchase price for a mobile phone in the US for the third quarter 2009 was $85, this is compared to $88 for the corresponding period in 2008.

This result is quite surprising given the fact that many consumers are now looking at upgrading to more advanced smartphones, a category that has held steady with 28 per cent of all handset sales.

Ross Rubin, director of industry at The NPD Group, commented on the rapid adoption of smartphones.

“Carriers have been heavily promoting the latest advanced handsets, which has spurred recent growth in the smartphone market and an increase in the number of smartphone brands available to consumers,” he said.

“For example, while there was only one Android device available in the fourth quarter of last year, now there are eight available from three major carriers.”

The smartphones that proved the most popular over the quarter were the Blackberry Curve, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G. Featured phones (those that run without an operating system) are still very popular in the marketplace and LG dominates this field with the final two models in the top five.

Gavin was optimistic about the effect of the Christmas season on mobile phone sales and the opportunities the category provides for retailers.

“Carriers and retailers are increasingly looking to the holiday season for the increase in sales traditionally enjoyed by other consumer-electronics categories,” he said.

“Growing revenue opportunities offered by accessories and service are just two ways that handsets offer revenue potential beyond someone switching carriers.”

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