Smartphone buyers bored: A look at how Samsung interest waned

Argus Insights highlights how incremental upgrades to smartphones aren't enough to entice consumers and Samsung's latest Galaxy launch is exhibit A.

Smartphones are losing their luster with technology buyers and Samsung is taking the brunt of the hit, according to a report from research firm Argus Insights.

The takeaway from Argus is that consumers are losing interest in smartphones, which have hit the saturation point. Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 edge only managed to garner attention for a short while before demand waned again.

Apple seems to have eluded the saturation point for a while, but a new camera may be the only thing to keep the iPhone upgrade cycle rolling.

Argus said:

Consumers are losing interest in the smartphone market, and Samsung's flashy flagship phones could not reverse the trend. New phones are typically a vague improvement on old ones, with better cameras, memory, etc., but these small improvements are failing to create urgency for consumers to upgrade right away. The holiday season of 2014 saw extreme smartphone demand, and it will take something truly interesting in a handset to inspire those consumers to ditch their holiday gifts and upgrade early. Samsung managed to gain back mindshare in the US market with the release of their flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge handsets in April 2015, but even this high profile release did not boost market demand.

Now you could argue that Samsung made a few mistakes with its latest Galaxy line. The two big ones are the lack of a removable battery and a memory card slot. But those omissions don't explain why none of Samsung's Android rivals have gained.

This chart from Argus tells the tale.

argus-smartphone-demand-chart.png

As CNET recently noted, all Android handset makers are seeing a slowdown. Samsung and Apple still lead the overall pack, but the former hasn't been able to hold consumer attention for long. There's also a common view that the holiday season of 2014 stole demand from 2015. The reality is that smartphone buyers may just be bored.

Here's a look at how consumers checked out Samsung's latest devices and then decided to buy an iPhone.

argus-galaxy-interest.png

In the end, I think Apple may see a slowdown with the iPhone too. The iPhone 6 got Apple into the phablet game, but once the big screen device game of poaching plays out the company's growth may stagnate too. As far as hardware upgrades go, a better camera is one of the few items that may encourage an upgrade.

We're in the land of the incremental with smartphones and the mobile platforms are mired in the service pack era. Add it up and we need a few mobile big bang launches to capture our collective imagination and few tech giants are stepping up to the plate.