For Consumers, Hardware Is Less Significant Than It Once Was

Once upon a time, consumers flocked to buy the newest mobile phones to get colour screens, cameras, and the sleekest design.

With the rise of smartphones and the corresponding jump in the importance of operating systems and apps, the device itself has become a secondary consideration.

According to Nielsen, only in Russia is a hardware-related factor — “stylish design” —a top selection criteria for consumers.

Instead, the top two considerations in most markets are “good value for money” and “easy to use.” 

This is revealing about the current state of the smartphone market. Too often, talk about new phone models focuses on processors, megapixels, and the like, but most consumers just want something in their hand that performs and doesn’t hurt their wallet too much.

This will be especially true as the market moves away from wealthy early adopters to older and less wealthy consumers, and to low-penetration markets in the developing world. 

This is not to stay that hardware is irrelevant. Clearly, manufacturers still need to innovate and stay on top of design and feature trends. However, commenters who focus on Samsung’s inferior aesthetics are missing the point: for many consumers, it’s likely just a better value than many of the alternatives.

Click here to view a larger version of this chart.

wide choice of apps

Photo: BII

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.