Trends & Brands: Smartphones
Written by Merle Veurman (16-09-2016)
It wakes you up in the morning, it updates you on the news, you stress if you don’t know where it is and you can’t go outside without seeing it in people their hands. I am of course talking about the smartphone. In the last couple of years the smartphone has become a thing that you can’t seem to live without. 58% of smartphone users actually don’t go more than an hour without checking their phone and 9% of U.S. adult actually use their smartphones during sex (Buzinga 2015). It is weird to realise that the smartphone wasn’t a thing ten years ago. Let’s dive in to this trend that changed the way we communicate, the way we live and the world we live in.
When in February 2007 chief executive of Apple Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone he said it is “a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone”. A revolution it has been. This was the start of the trend in the eye of the general public. Smartphones are a trend because it has, among others, changed norms and added value to society. I remember my granddad telling a story about how him and my nan where traveling to London and he thought it was the weirdest thing that people actually where outside talking on their phones. Back then it was normal having a landline and not a mobile device. Now even he has a smartphone. The norm has changed. No one would look weird at you if you make a call outside. But this new norm has also made life easier, it has added a certain value to society. You can find your way easier through Google Maps, express your feelings when sending a message using emoticons, check if it’s going to rain before you go out and these are only a few things.
Smartphones are a micro trend. They happen on a product/market level. If a micro trend is going to be successful is hard to predict. When Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone the chief executive of Microsoft jokily said that it was the most expensive phone in the world. He thought it the iPhone would be a big gaff. He couldn’t be more wrong. It is 2016 now and the iPhone is still one of the best selling smartphones in the world. Micro trends are based on meso trends. A meso trend on which the smartphones are based is, among others, globalisation, which I talked about in my last article. Because of globalisation people travel a lot more. A smartphones makes it easier to work, look up information and communicate whilst traveling. The consumers needed a smartphone to keep up with their new lifestyle.
Number of smartphones sold to end users worldwide
Smartphones ownership is still growing. In figure 1 we can see that smartphone ownership is still exponentially growing. Smartphone are being used up by the general public, you see them everywhere! This means that, when we look at the trend lifecycle, the smartphone can be placed at the stage of the followers. However the people who are now picking up, I think, are quite late since smartphones have been around for almost ten years. I think there will be a new ‘thing’. Something that will still meet most needs we’d like to have in a small portable computer like a smartphone but works even easier, faster and more efficiently. I don’t think the smartphone is here to stay for another 15 years. We see companies experimenting with this like for example Google with Google glasses. Yes, this was not as successful as Google has probably hoped for and it has never been a danger to the existence of the smartphone, however it is a step towards something new. I think it only takes one company, maybe even one person, to come up with a brilliant idea for the smartphone to be replaced, to bring the smartphone to its downwards stages of the trend lifecycle.
What do you think? Will the smartphone be replaced soon by something else or is the smartphone here to stay for another decade? What do you think the next big thing would be if the smartphone where to be replaced?
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