US Handset Sales Drop — Are Consumers Tired Of Crap Phones?

New Cellphone Purchases Decline in U.S. – WSJ.com:

U.S. purchases of new cellphones declined in the first quarter for the first time in several years, signaling that worries about an economic slowdown are hurting the handset market, according to two new studies.

The drop was concentrated among poorer customers using prepaid plans and among households earning $75,000 to $99,000 a year. The upper end of the cellphone market — phones featuring full keyboards for email and text messaging, and extra features for music downloads and video viewing — continued to see growth.

The dip doesn’t seem too surprising, given the belt-tightening that a lot of people are doing, along with the market continuing towards saturation (the WSJ says mobile penetration is at 83% in the US now). But check out what the story says about high-end devices and how their sales are up.

So, is it a tale of economic malaise, or are US consumers just tired of the crappy selection of handsets most operators here offer? The slowing economy is a convenient excuse for any business seeing slowing sales — but it’s also a smokescreen covering up plenty of other ills.

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