Expansion of Feature Phone Market in the US

The United States’ feature phone market is experiencing a revival, with Gen Z and millennials advocating for a break from digital overload caused by smartphones and social media, according to recent reports.

TikTok trends like #bringbackfliphones have gained immense popularity, propelling younger generations to embrace feature phones in line with movements promoting digital detox, minimalist living, and unplugging. Counterpoint Research has highlighted this trend and its implications.

In contrast to the rapid adoption of smartphones upon their arrival, the feature phone market had dwindled significantly over the past decade. Counterpoint now points out a change, emphasizing that the market landscape has become more competitive.

Counterpoint’s analysis reveals that the current contribution of feature phones to overall handset sales in the US is slightly above two percent. Among the key players catering to this niche market segment, TCL stands out, boasting a 43 percent market share due to its robust presence within carrier channels. HMD follows with a 26 percent share, while smaller contenders constitute the remaining market share.

The research firm underscores that feature phones still have a pertinent role and are likely to sustain consistent shipments. Their affordability and durability render them suitable for specific use cases. While substantial growth might not be anticipated, the demand for feature phones as tools for digital detox remains steadfast.

Counterpoint elaborates that a consumer base seeks devices that are minimalistic yet equipped with relevant features for modern connectivity needs. It notes that the design and specifications of feature phones have seen minimal evolution in recent years, which could deter potential buyers. To encourage growth, incorporating new hardware configurations and features in line with current trends, while preserving user-friendly simplicity, could be a key strategy. An example of such a feature is NFC (Near Field Communication).

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