Smartphone Sales Records No Longer Impress Me

Apple just announced that they broke another sales record this year with over 10 million sales of the new iPhones over the past weekend. But does this actually matter anymore?

Smartphone sales records no longer impress me. The whole system is set up to break records every year by the biggest players: Apple and Samsung. Think about it. Why do they keep breaking the records every year, consistently? Could it be because they are making better phones every year? Sure, it’s true for both, but it’s only incremental if you really think about it.

But what are the real reasons? There’s the economical & business aspect, there’s the technology aspect, and then there’s the psychological aspect. The former is that the entire world’s economic state is continually improving. More people than ever before are capable of affording to buy these devices, and this goes up every year. Purchasing power is going up everywhere. Take Brazil for example. A study was just released showing that for the first time in history, Brazil is no longer among the countries that have over 5% of the population going hungry. This is indicative of food being readily available through higher purchasing power or government programs. Either way, more money is coming into the hands of the people, and what do they do with it? Buy more stuff.

The second reason is the people who already own the previous generations, now probably have to get a new phone because either:

  1. Their batteries suck (even though when they got it, it was great)
  2. They broke the glass
  3. It’s slow (and this works because most people don’t know that you can simply restore to factory settings)
  4. Their contract is up and they feel entitled to get something new to get their money’s worth

Finally, the psychological aspect. People like me are the reason this exists. Peer pressure. You see a bunch of your friends and family get the new device (probably because of the last two points), and they brag about it and show their enthusiasm, and you’re like “Oh…mine kinda sucks now”, and all of a sudden you’re inclined to upgrade as soon as possible to be able to get to their “level”. This is unfortunately a part of our consumer society mentality, and it sucks for people who can’t manage their finances right, but it also pushes technology further faster, because you don’t have as many people staying behind and settling with the old.

So no, sales records don’t impress me anymore, because as long as these two companies keep making roughly the same product, but slightly better, it will keep happening.