Wednesday, 24 June 2020 06:21

A third of smartphone users in seven nations will spend 20% less on next device: survey

A third of smartphone users in seven nations will spend 20% less on next device: survey Pixabay

One in three smartphone users will cut their spending on their next device by a fifth or more, the technology analyst firm Counterpoint Research says, adding that this was due to the reduction in economic activity across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 2200 consumers were surveyed in seven countries: the US, the UK, India, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The smallest number surveyed in any country was 200; in most countries it was more, ensuring that the samples were always statistically significant.

In a statement, the company said it found that about half of the total number expected to delay the purchase of their next smartphone. Indian consumers (61%) were the ones who planned to wait the longest before getting a new smartphone.

There were similar percentages for both Spain and Italy (58% and 56% respectively), while in the US 41% of those surveyed said they planned to delay their next purchase. Germany was the lowest, with only 34% saying they planned to delay a purchase.

Counterpoint senior analyst Pavel Naiya said: “The coronavirus outbreak and future income uncertainty has affected consumer behaviour with many strictly limiting purchasing to only the essentials.

"Smartphone consumers from Spain and Italy are the most affected. Consumers intending to cut their future smartphone purchase budget by 20% or more are highest in Spain (27%) and Italy (25%), followed by the US (24%). Looking at the current circumstances, we expect this trend will continue until mid-2021.”

phones delay

The Counterpoint survey also found that due to social distancing, two-thirds of those surveyed in India and more than half in both Italy and the US were looking for what was described as a "low touch" sales channel. This meant more online orders with home delivery and also online orders that were collected from a store, the latter known as online-to-offline or click-and-collect.

Counterpoint research associate Arushi Chawla said: “We have seen many initiatives taking place in developing countries like India in the early phase of the lockdown period. Xiaomi started the Mi Commerce Web app to connect consumers with the nearest retail store.

"Samsung has strategically partnered with Benow to help retailers register their inventory on its platform. vivo’s Smart Retail [enables] customers to send their product-related queries to retailers through SMS and reach out to the e-store or official Facebook page for order placing. And OPPO customers can order deliveries or raise service requests on WhatsApp or via SMS.”

Given that the first case of coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, China, Counterpoint also sought to find out consumer sentiment about smartphones made in China. The company found that anti-Chinese sentiment was highest among Indian consumers, with more than half having a negative attitude towards products made in China or Chinese smartphone brands.

Adding to this depth of feeling was the recent border clash between Indian and Chinese troops.

About a fifth of the US respondents said they preferred not to buy products made in China.

The country-level consumer highlights from the survey were:


  • Online is the fastest-growing channel and is more popular among respondents who are not working and who are looking to buy LG, Sony. It is least popular among prospective Apple buyers.
  • As a mature market, most users are already divided between iOS and Android. Brand loyalty for Samsung and Apple users are similar. Apple users are most satisfied with the iPhone camera while Samsung users are most satisfied with the Galaxy display.
  • The importance of selfie camera has increased in the last two years, most likely because of new social media augmented reality features that use a selfie camera to create interactive content. More recently, with video calls being a major part of daily routines, they further accentuated the importance of good front-facing cameras.


  • Two-thirds of British consumers were thinking of buying a smartphone according to their usual plan. Only 11% were planning to cut their budget by 20% or more.
  • Forte-three percent of the survey respondents were thinking of replacing their devices in the next year. Operator stores continue to be the preferred channel of purchase, followed by mass merchandise electronic stores.
  • Close to 90% of respondents had no hesitation in buying products made in China.


  • Half the respondents intended to spend between US$135 and US$250 (10,000 to 20,000 Indian rupees) on their next smartphone.
  • More than half of the respondents intend to replace their devices within 12 months.
  • As most users would wait longer to replace their smartphones, it would push the average replacement cycle from 22 months to about 26 months.
  • Online review articles are the top source of information followed by friends and family and technology-related YouTubers.
  • About 70% respondents were interested in buying a separate smartphone for kids to help with their learning.

Graphic: courtesy Counterpoint Research

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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