Meteoric demand for low-priced smartphones – Omdia report

The low-end price segment for smartphones has experienced the fastest growth compared to midrange, high-end and other price points for the devices, according to Omdia.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

June 21, 2024

3 Min Read
A woman takes a photo on her smartphone at MWC
(Source: GSMA)

Smartphone customers are flocking to the low-end price segment of the devices, according to analysts with Omdia.

The low-end price segment for smartphones has experienced the fastest growth compared to midrange, high-end and other price points for the devices, according to the Omdia Smartphone Model Market Tracker.

Shipment of low-end priced smartphones – under $150 – increased by 30 million year-over-year, from 90 million in Q1 2023 to 120 million in Q1 2024, an uptick of 33%. Demand for ultra-low-cost smartphones, priced at $90 or less, increased 87% year-over-year, up from 18 million in Q1 2023 to 34 million in Q1 2024.


This shift comes in large part from mid-end smartphone buyers, who choose smartphones between $151 to $600, upgrading or downgrading their phones. Demand for mid-end smartphones dropped 2 million, from 109 million shipments in Q1 2023 to 107 million shipments in Q1 2024.

Fortunately for the budget-conscious buyer, there are quite a few solid smartphone options available for under $500. The Verge ranks the Google Pixel 6A, coming in at around $310, as the best phone under $400 due to its 12-megapixel standard wide camera and its battery performance.

Coinciding with a rise in shipments of low-end priced smartphones is a global reduction in the average advertised pricing for mobile phones. In 2024, mobile phone prices have experienced decreases ranging from 0.3% to -2.0%, according to IDC. Prices declined the most in the US at 3.8%, followed by Canada and Latin America, both with a 2.6% decline.

In addition, the smartphone replacement cycle is shorter in emerging markets compared to developed ones.

"This is due to the poor performance and shorter security and OS support period of cheap smartphones," said Aaron West, Senior Analyst in Omdia's Smartphone group, in a statement.

Also, a small segment of smartphone customers want to keep up with the Joneses on an annual basis. "T-Mobile suggested that roughly 10% of its customers consider having a new phone every year a 'major priority,'" reported Light Reading's Mike Dano.

The high-end segment of phones priced over $600 has also grown, up by 3 million shipments in Q1 2024 (total of 73 million) from Q1 2023 (70 million), said Omdia.


One example of high-end smartphone growth is the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series, starting at $799.99, which shipped 14.3 million devices in Q1 2024 after its Jan. 24 launch. This comes at a 30% increase in comparison to the S23 – last year, the S23 series shipped 11.8 million units in Q1 2023.

"This trend indicates that more consumers are opting for the Pro or Ultra versions of new releases over the baseline iPhone 15 and Samsung Galaxy S24 phone models," explained Omdia. The iPhone 15 Pro Max had 11.5 million shipments in Q1 of this year.

"All this points to an increasingly divided smartphone market between low-end consumers, primarily in emerging markets and premium smartphone consumers in developed markets," said Omdia.

Samsung is the leading smartphone provider as of Q1 2024 with about 21% market share, followed by Apple with 17% market share, according to IDC.

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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