A research group, the NPD Group, just released a report that says that cell phone sales are down 13% from the same period a year ago. This is despite the release of the ever anticipated, yet plagued 3G iPhone.
This was the third quarter in a row with a year-over-year decline, and the lowest number of phones sold since NPD began tracking the category in 2005. The phones that we purchased tended to have more features and be more expensive. The average cell phone in NPD’s surveys cost $84, up 14% from a year ago, as sales of feature-rich “smart” phones nearly doubled. Cell phones with full-alphabet keyboards, like Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry models, saw the biggest increase.
I was one of those people who purchased a keyboard phone. Just last week I ‘upgraded’ to a Blackjack. The reason: it’s all about texting now and the Razr phone keys just got to be a pain to text with. By ‘upgrading’ I agreed to extend my current contract by a year to get a sweet deal.
The cell phone has become the latest piece of yesterday’s latest must have technology to become todays forgotten necessity. Like the air conditioner, color TV, and the DVD player before it, the cell phone has maximized it’s number one purpose- to make phone calls. In reality, who calls any more? Everything is done online or through texting. It’s quicker, easier to say “no” to or cut a conversation short, and you can get more done leading to more free time to scour Facebook and Twitter.
There is a new push from Yahoo and a few companies for a cell phone that can get TV reception. But, like the hand held Sony version of TV’s that were big in the late 80’s, if you can’t get cable what’s the sense?
There really isn’t much more you can do to make the cell phone more needed. We can use it to view the internet, listen to music, and keep in contact with the world. Once manufactures made it easier for everyone to do all of this, the potential for growth became nullified.
The good news is that the cell phone carriers and friends are facing competition to give us the best deals.