Opinion: Soon we will stop buying new smartphones. Why?


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How often do you go to an electronics store or order a new smartphone on the internet? Safe once a year or two (and more often if the financial situation allows it). Smart phone manufacturers are therefore seriously updating their devices every two years. You can not completely abandon the release of new models for one year and therefore release "intermediate devices". But how long will it take?

What is the diffusion of innovations?

In 1983, sociologist Everett Rogers proposed his own model describing the "diffusion of innovation" – the diffusion of new technologies among a wide range of consumers. In his study, Rogers used the S-shaped diffusion curve of innovation, which shows the dependence of the distribution of a product on the buyer's individual disposition to perceive innovation. For this, the scientist identified five consumer groups: innovators, early followers, the former majority, the later majority and the late.

The idea is that due to the different contacts between consumers, the product will be distributed as quickly as possible. First, a group of innovators (2.5% of the population) begin to promote this or that technology and to connect with the process of early followers (13.5%). After some time, innovation is recognized by the early majority (34%) and later by the majority (34%). In the end, so-called latecomers (ie conservatives, 16% of the population) change their attitude to the new product and start to use it.

What will happen to the smartphone market?

If you compare the Rogers model with the modern smartphone market, you can make an important discovery. Surprisingly, the mobile market is not only fully in line with the scheme proposed in 1983, but is still at the stage of introduction to the Conservative group. In the US, the distribution of smartphones is already over 80%, a similar situation can be observed in the five largest European smartphone markets.

If consumers adjust at the same pace, the smartphone market will face a slowdown in the diffusion of new technologies by 2020, reducing very late dissemination. And by 2025, there will be a market glut or a 100 percent proliferation of smartphones.

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Even more interesting is the distribution of the individual platforms. The undisputed market leaders are currently iOS and Android, while Microsoft and Nokia are among the outsiders. Experts can still predict the situation on the smartphone market, but not the behavior of a technology company. Modern IT giants have become unpredictable.

Nobody will buy new phones?

By comparing current data with the Rogers model, it is possible to track how a product's announcement impacts the overall level of customization of consumers.

You've probably noticed for yourself that before you bought a new phone, you had a certain wow effect and other emotions. Now, manufacturers are changing the maximum number of megapixels and the name of the processor, but there are none like key-phones: a different form, keyboard, and so on. Hence the lack of interest and emotions, and there is simply no feeling that this is something new.

The owner of the i10.ru media group, Mikhail Korolev, agrees:

Often people just say "I have an iPhone" and that's it. I had an iPhone XS and now use the iPhone 7. Yes, photos in the dark are worse, but nothing more. It is better to make a trip to the price difference.

What happens after a market glut? I believe smartphone manufacturers will no longer attract customers from their competitors, but focus on their own consumers. And maybe we'll stop tracking trends and update our smartphones much less often (what do you think, tell us in our telegram chat). The same Apple is already working on this tactic and brings the company good results.