Mobile phones with more basic functionality than familiar smartphones are currently on the rise and are experiencing a growing interest from some users.
In Israel, this movement is most impressive: Nokia has recorded a 200% increase in mobile phone sales since the beginning of the year. In France, 18% of users turned to this type of device with limited functionality in 2021.
These phone features ignore the most modern telecommunication networks and are limited to 3G or 4G, offer no or very few applications and above all, do not offer a gigantic screen that allows comfortable access to the Internet. The prominent features are mainly telephony and sending and receiving SMS.
How to explain the phenomenon?
There are several ways to explain this strong comeback of feature phones. Therefore, we can undoubtedly mention the overall increase in prices: the smartphone market has seen a price explosion in recent years with manufacturers no longer hesitating to exceed the 1000 euro mark for their latest model.
The features of the phone in comparison remain very affordable: it is possible to equip yourself from €20. At the same time, these devices are less prone to malfunctions or breakages, they are more resistant, but also more autonomous: their battery can last for several weeks in limited use.
Between 2019 and 2020, the add-on phone market doubled worldwide with more than 735 million units sold. According to Statista, the market could represent 9.52 billion euros this year.
For some users, choosing a feature phone also meets other needs: some express their nostalgia for 90s/2000s apps so there are no more notifications or temptations to consult networks.
But for some users, especially in Israel, it is primarily a matter of security: the Pegasus affair (mass espionage) has diverted certain users to devices that cannot offer a backdoor.
Finally, for the last part of users, it is above all an ecological gesture: feature phones are more durable, require less charging and are not affected by the planned obsolescence associated with a system like Android or iOS. .