The world dramatically changed this year when COVID made its march World-wide. Not only were we faced with tremendous loss of lives, economies have been shaken. Things such as tourism almost completely stopped with a decline in Europe of around 86% of jobs affected. Jobs have been lost in record numbers not seen at this level since the Great Depression. To say the least, uncertainty rings rampant. Financial concerns ring loud in 2020 and this is translating to a greater interest in reasonably priced tech.
People who budgeted from pay-check to pay-check now know they made a great mistake. On top of the sorrow due to the loss of life, people began losing their homes plus other things in record number.
Financial concerns, which we have always endured, moved quickly to the top of the list to be dealt with as effectively as possible in the wake of this calamity. People became very self-aware of their spending and put the brakes on.
A Surprising Example
On Youtube there is a technical channel called Tailosive Tech and in this video:
Tailosive talks about why he cancelled his Apple Music subscription to save money. What is interesting here is this fellow is a dogged Apple fan and for him to ditch Apple and use Youtube music as he gets that as a part of his Youtube subscription (which he can’t give up) says a lot.
Samsung’s Colossal Blunder
Samsung, this year, set their new s20 series phones at a price more expensive than Apple’s phones. Needless to say their sales are in the ground and although they have dropped prices through sale prices it’s a bit too late. The damage has been done.
This is a time when people are uneasy. They aren’t looking as much to upgrade their phones nor do they want very expensive phones. Apple seemed in tune with this and came out with what they refer to as a budget phone the Apple SE. Also, their prime product line runs across a variety of prices from reasonable to outright expensive. It gives the user choice as opposed to trying to push them into the $1000 plus territory.
Google Really hit the Nail on the Head with Pixel 4a
Google’s timing for their Pixel 4a couldn’t have been more spot on. They were likely going to price the 4a the same as the 3a. That was a phone priced at $399. When Apple introduced the SE at $399, the Pixel 4a came out at $349. It has been so popular it has sold out everywhere.
Interestingly enough, the Pixel does everything one would need a Smartphone to do. It has:
- 128 gigs of storage (ample for lots of music etc)
- an Amoled screen
- a fairly good processor providing acceptable speed
- plenty of RAM (6 gigs)
- payment options
- and on it goes
What it lacks is:
- Wireless charging
- possibly a more capable battery
- a high speed processor
- colour and sizing options
- but this is about it
Not just Tech but it is Key
Apple is still going great guns because the one thing that is helping significantly through this COVID crisis is technology and mainly the internet. It’s allowing goods to continue to flow in a relatively good time frame. This then impacts personal use to allow us to get what we need.
Tech has risen in importance for many years. However, this year it has risen to a new level. The one thing about Apple is the loyalty of the customer to the brand. It has rightly been earned. If a customer feels he needs his product over time as there is no supporting continual upgrades, that customer knows Apple will remain vibrant due to their policies. It is not unusual to see an upgrade go many models and years. Right now they are reaching back to the 6s or SE which are both about 5 years old if not a touch more.
Apple also played its cards right this year by introducing a very powerful budget friendly the Apple SE. At $399 U.S.D. it presents a reasonable point of entry to the Apple iPhone. People have, to a large degree, lost their stomach for the $1000 phone.
With this too comes another side benefit. Phones have been increasinlg dramatically in their size. Some people not only want a budget friendly phone but they want a smaller phone that is easy to tote around.
Samsung Missed the Mark on Both Fronts
Samsung not only shocked everyone in the world by bringing in very expensive phones. The Galaxy and Note were for some priced way over the top. Additionally, these phones are huge. On both fronts Samsung missed the mark. This year, what people are looking for is more the budget friendly, size friendly Smartphone.
Apple’s lineup is logical whilst although Samsung has the A series line of Smartphones, which are budget friendly, Samsung didn’t push this line. As such, they are paying a price both in terms of sales and their reputation.
COVID Might Only have been a Spark
Some people would say the economy became unhinged during the great meltdown of 2008. This is playing out in the States in what one might call Technicolour. Many people In this brave new world have felt left behind whilst others became dramatically rich. The fact is there is much truth in this. The political situation has become quite unhinged.
These situations play on people’s confidence in the economy. It is time to hunker down. Upgrading phones yearly is not only foolish but not necessary. Today’s tech is very advanced even compared to that of ten years ago. Performance will continue to amount to good performance even few years down the road.
Products have matured and there isn’t a lot that can be added to phones currently that would turn a year old phone into something dated that fast. People are realizing this and these forces of instability combined with the mature nature of tech is encouraging people to not go overboard on their expenditures.
If it comes down to food on the table for themselves and their kids or that expensive, shiny phone that will age quickly, people are making the right decisions. For some though it is too late. They have lost their job, their home and are having trouble feeding their kids.
There’s nothing good about the above scenario. It just is what it is and pandemics happen and so do economies which are volatile at best. People are right to be concerned and therefore careful with their spending. A lot can be done with reasonably priced tech. Questions around subscriptions which are endless and phones priced over the top are being ignored and yet the consequences are not immediately dire. It is true things keep going as people spread the money around however, burying yourself in debt for the questionable must be considered too.
This trend to the more modest will continue for many except those that seem to have more money than they can burn. The imbalances that have been building since the 80s are far beyond the scope of this article. It is important though to understand the Pandemic came at a very fragile time when things were both politically and economically unstable and although some aren’t hurting many are. Product that recognizes the reality is more likely to be successful.