ST Picks: Over $1k for a mobile phone — Rising demand for premium devices

3 months ago 287

SINGAPORE – Rising prices are unlikely to stop Singaporeans from getting their hands on a premium new mobile phone, analysts say.

Demand is projected to climb steadily for expensive phones above $1,000, such as the flagship devices of Apple, Samsung, Google and Oppo, as buyers are drawn to instalment plans and heavier advertising by the brands.

Market research firm IDC’s vice-president of devices research Bryan Ma said that smartphone shipments to Singapore are expected to pick up by 1.2 per cent to 2.33 million units in 2024, from an estimated 2.3 million units shipped by the end of 2023. The market dipped 5.2 per cent in 2023 compared with 2022, said Mr Ma.

The growing availability of buy-now-pay-later schemes on e-commerce platforms and telco instalment plans make it easier for buyers to stomach pricier devices as they need not pay the full price upfront.

Telcos, in particular, are key promotional vehicles for phone manufacturers, as nearly a third of buyers here pick up their phones from telcos, said Mr Ma.

Such projections come on the back of rising prices in 2023.

Prices of the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro jumped by more than $100 compared with their predecessors.

The $1,099 Pixel 8 is $100 more than the Pixel 7, while the Pixel 8 Pro is $1,549, up from its predecessor’s $1,299 price tag.

The price of entry for the iPhone 15 Pro Max – at $1,999 for the 256GB model – is also higher than before as Apple no longer offers a 128GB version, which was $1,799 at launch for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Mr Ma added that the average price of a smartphone sold here is nearly twice the global average of US$438 (S$590), reflecting how the Singapore market leans towards higher-end products.

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