For most smartphones are an incredibly important purchase. It goes everywhere we go, does a ridiculous amount of things, and documents our lives. They're also really expensive, with the flagships getting more and more expensive as time goes on.
That, coupled with the fact that phones don't end up obsolete as quickly as they used to means people don't tend to upgrade as often. Or at least, that's what Dixons Carphone is blaming its falling profits on.
The company just issued a trading update, warning that profits might not meet previous expectations. It noted that electronics sales are up 6 per cent, but "a more challenging UK postpay mobile phone market" isn't doing its books any favours. In fact it's expecting its profits to drop to between £360 million and £440 million. That's quite a bit less than the £501 million it earned last year, though it's not like it's actually losing money. The company said:
"Currency fluctuations have meant that handsets have become more expensive whilst technical innovation has been more incremental. As a consequence, we have seen an increased number of people hold on to their phones for longer."
The company also cited lower EU roaming charges as another reason why its profits have fallen. I think we all know how to react to that:
They have a point about innovation, though. When was the last time a smartphone came out with a serious feature that got copied by every major player out there? Some hoped modular phones would do it, but they never took off. Fingerprint scanners maybe? They've been around for a while, but things didn't exactly kick off until the iPhone 5S's TouchID proved they could be better than a passcode. That was four years ago.
More power is good, better components are good, improvements to the screen are even better, but those aren't really appealing to the masses. A decent battery might, but with the obsession with making phones as thing as possible that's not likely to happen for a while. [Dixons Carphone via Engadget]