Mobile Week in Review

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Week In Review

Plan Prices Plummet with Promos

Recently, mobile service providers have been touting savings for customers who opt to bring their own devices and switch to the network. Verizon’s homepage promotes “our best price ever” for the Welcome Unlimited plan at $25/line, for four lines with Auto Pay when you bring four phones to the plan. The company also guarantees this price for three years. The limited-time offer applies with varying discount amounts to all plans, with a maximum of $504 off, delivered via 36 monthly bill credits for the 5G Get More, Play More and Do More unlimited plans. Verizon is not alone, as we see AT&T offering $250 over 25, $10 monthly bill credits when you bring your own smartphone and port-in a line to a new or existing account for postpaid wireless voice and data service. Both carriers require the existing smartphone to be unlocked.

The Circana Take:

  • Carriers have been offering increasingly-enticing subsidies on smartphones over the last few years, the steepest savings of which are free phone offers. Many large discounts have had qualifiers such as trading-in eligible devices and/or adding a new line on top-tier plans. However, these service providers are now coming up with ways to compensate for the expenses they incur from device subsidies. Incentivizing BYOD switchers has several benefits for the carrier, saving the burden of providing a free or heavily discounted new phone while drawing in new customers to premium, long-term service plans.
  • Advertisements for these promotions emphasize keeping one’s current cell phone as a benefit to the customer. Consumers who are loyal to their device or don’t see the need for a new phone yet may see it this way. Our research has shown device upgrade cycles slowing due to high-quality technology and lengthening financing installment plans. Allowing service plan switching without additional purchases can give carriers another source of new customers and share of their wallets.
  • According to our latest Connected Intelligence Mobility survey (February 2023), 22% of smartphone owners switched cellular service providers at the same time as they purchased their current phone, while 13% switched providers since purchasing their current phone. Plan discounts for BYOD customers could encourage more users to switch without buying a new phone and raise the latter two statistics, as monthly service bill cost is a large switching driver.

Apple Strikes Gold (or rather, yellow)

Apple has once again released a new iPhone color mid-launch cycle. The iPhone 12 popped up in purple, the iPhone 13 gained green, and now yellow has joined the mix for the iPhone 14. New colors may attract customers who find the color itself enticing, and serve as an opportunity to bring attention back to the phone series around the halfway point between the prior launch and the next one. It’s an eye-catching color to be sure, and news, reviews and unboxings are already circulating.

The Circana Take:

  • According to our latest Connected Intelligence Mobility survey, device design was a factor in 14% of smartphone owners’ decisions to switch from another brand to an Apple iPhone.
  • We may wonder, is the phone’s color that important if we’re putting a case on our phone anyway? According to Circana’s proprietary retail point-of-sale data, 31% of cell phone case units sold in the calendar year 2022 were clear, allowing the color of the phone itself to shine through. Narrowing by cases designed for iPhones, clear rises to 35% of unit sales and is the #1 unit ranking case color, which has been true since 2020 (source: Circana Group / Retail Tracking Service).
  • These data points signify that pleasant device aesthetics, including colors, can be a draw for customers, and seeing unique or appealing colors added to the assortment could make a difference—not only for loyal iPhone customers, but also for those considering switching brands.
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