A research by Counterpoint claims that feature phones are most likely to remain relevant for at least next five years
Feature phones held a 23 per cent share in the total mobile handset shipments during Q3 2018. A research by Counterpoint also claims that new low income users, are most likely to experience mobile phones through a feature phone first.
The research has hinted towards an opportunity for feature phone manufacturers present in Indian, Middle East and African Markets. It said, “After the slowdown of shipments from Jio in India, much of feature phones growth came from Middle East & Africa (MEA), which has emerged as the largest feature phone market globally. Shipments in MEA grew at a rate of 32 per cent.”
Feature phones upgrading to be 4G phones
The research said that features phones are now upgrading to be 4G phones. Facilities and applications that a user could only enjoy with smartphones, are now being made available in feature phones. The trend is most likely to continue as more manufacturers and operators try to ‘monetize from the sizable feature phone base’.
Sounding positive about the future of feature phones, the research highlighted that feature phones will most likely remain relevant for at least next five years. Counterpoint also mentioned that smartphones market is facing negative growth rates at the moment.
Battery life one of the main reasons behind the feature phones growth
Parts of emerging countries like India and Africa still have limited access to electricity and infrastructure that may be resulting in growth of feature phones in these markets. The research stated. “According to world bank data of 2014, around 600 million people lacked electricity in Africa alone.”
It is quite obvious that mobile phone users in such countries look for phones that offer more battery life. It is a known fact that smartphones, generally run out of power, much faster than a feature phone. The report said, “Feature phones are also being used as a secondary device for calling by many users on account of their high battery life.”
Not so tech savvy users, older population, poor quality entry level smart phones and low purchasing power, make up for other reasons contributing in the growth of feature phones. Availability of features including social media, Whatsapp and You Tube on feature phones is further fueling the segment’s growth.