13 Aug Why Direct to Consumer Smartphone Sales are Bad News
Motorola have recently hinted that the Moto X Style may be released as soon as the 3rd of September, which is great news for Motorola fans eager to get their hands on one. What’s not such great news however is that Motorola have decided to take the direct to consumer approach, which means the Moto X Style won’t be available from any carriers for those who prefer to pay monthly. Anyone keen to own the impressive new flagship phone from Motorola will have to shell out for it in full.
Admittedly Motorola are known for their budget friendly prices and the Moto X Style is available for a reasonable £359 from Moto Maker but for many, £359 is still a lot to fork out in one go. Many carriers offer top of the range smartphones on a contract (12 months or, more commonly, 24) with little or no upfront cost. The HTC One M9, which is relatively similar to the Moto X Style in terms of specs, is available from a range of carriers for around £40 or less per month. In the long run, over 24 months you end up spending more than the handset itself but all your minutes, texts and data is included.
On a contract you can upgrade your phone, some carriers now allow you to upgrade any time as long as you pay off what’s left of your contract. So if you get fed up and feel like a new phone is in order it’s easy to do. If you’ve spent £395 on the new Moto X Style, unless you’re super rich it’s unlikely you’ll be willing to shell out for a new handset for a while. The flexibility of a contract, particularly one that offers any time upgrades, means that you can always stay on top of trends and have the latest smartphones, if you’ve forked out to buy a phone outright you’re sort of stuck with it and the expense of upgrading is a lot more.
Direct to consumer selling is no doubt beneficial for many consumers and not everyone likes to have a phone on contract, but for those who don’t have the kind of money that allows them to shell out for a brand new phone and on top of that pay extra monthly for their usage, having the latest smartphones available on contract from various carriers is great.
While it’s no big deal that Motorola have chosen this approach, if they’re successful it could spark a change in the market with more manufacturers perhaps wanting to switch to selling directly to consumers. If they find success with this new sales approach more smartphone companies could start going the same way and this could have a big impact on the way we buy our phones. It’s unlikely that contracts will become obsolete, there’s plenty of people out there who want good smartphones but can’t afford to pay for them outright and paying a monthly contract is, for many, a more manageable option, it just means that those of us on a contract will occasionally miss out on some great smartphones like the Moto X Style.