Not too long ago, it looked like smartphones were quickly on their way to becoming inexpensive commodities.
Amid a flood of new, lower-priced phones and a shift by wireless carriers in the United States away from subsidizing the cost of devices for subscribers, the average price that consumers were paying for smartphones was dropping sharply. Even Apple, which had stubbornly stuck to the idea of selling premium gadgets, was coming under pressure to stay in step with the broader market and release a cheap iPhone.
But a funny thing happened on the way to smartphones becoming disposable devices – prices of late have started to head back up. As we can see in this chart from Statista, which is based on data from market research firm GfK, consumers worldwide have shown increasing willingness to pay up for premium phones. That was particularly true in the holiday quarter last year, thanks in part to one new top-of-the-line device in particular: Apple’s $1,000 iPhone X.