Rising handset costs

Considering the rising cost of smartphones, the team here at comparemymobile.com has analysed the price of four major manufacturers’ flagship phones (the Apple iPhone, Samsung S range, Huawei Mate range and HTC’s annual equivalent), right from the first version up to the most current model.

In a nutshell, we looked for any trends that might stand out, such as those manufacturers with the biggest price hikes between handsets, and what we found makes for an interesting read.

What we found

Huawei’s Mate and Apple’s iPhone both entered the market at a relatively affordable price (around the £300 mark) but have both since seen a steep increase on the prices of their handsets, with the iPhone currently the most expensive flagship handset of the four, and the Huawei Mate not far behind.

Comparatively, both Samsung and HTC debuted their flagship phones at a higher price tag (£630 and £500 respectively), and as a result have not had to increase their prices as much as the other models.

Indeed, since the first version of the same model, the price of the iPhone has increased by 271% and the Huawei by 200%: a huge leap when compared to Samsung (26.84%) and HTC (42.07%).

Conclusion

In this case, Samsung and HTC both benefitted from entering the market with a higher cost for their flagship handsets, in the sense that they have been able to somewhat plateau the price of their newer versions, which has an obvious appeal for returning customers and isn’t too much of a shock-to-the-system for buyers.

Apple and HTC, however, have had to increase their prices quite drastically from the first handsets, because of the low price with which they entered the market and how advanced more recent models are when compared to the capabilities of the first offerings.

Either way, there is a limit to what consumers are willing to pay, and if prices continue to rise without genuine new and innovative specs, customers may prefer to opt for mid-range, more affordable phones.

Cost difference from handset to handset

The first table shows the individual cost of each manufacturer’s flagship handset at the time of launch, from the first version of the phone, right through to the most recent.

As you can see from the graph, iPhone starts as the cheapest but is currently the most expensive, whilst Samsung’s flagship phone started at a high price, and has increased more steadily.

GRAPH
Huawei Samsung HTC iPhone
Version 1 £300 £629.95 £492 £269
Version 2 £385 £649 £560 £299.99
Version 3 £399 £660 £529.95 £499.99
Version 4 £429 £569 £580 £529
Version 5 £579.99 £689 £569.99 £619
Version 6 £699 £739 £699.99 £599
Version 7 £899 £799 £699.99 £699
Version 8 £999

NOTE: THIS TABLE SHOWS THE COST OF EACH HANDSET AT THE TIME OF UK LAUNCH

Percentage increase/decrease from predecessor handset

This table shows the percentage fluctuation in cost for each version of the manufacturers’ handsets, when compared with its immediate predecessor; the version before it.

The graph below shows a notable jump between versions 2 and 3 of the iPhone, and a steady trajectory from version 6 onwards, whilst the price of the Samsung decreased between version 5 and 6 and has since plateaued.

GRAPH
Huawei Samsung HTC iPhone
Version 1 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Version 2 28.33% 3.02% 13.82% 11.52%
Version 3 3.64% 1.69% -5.36% 66.67%
Version 4 7.52% 13.79% 9.44% 5.80%
Version 5 35.20% 21.09% -1.89% 17.01%
Version 6 20.52% 7.25% 22.80% -3.23%
Version 7 28.61% 8.11% 0% 16.69%
Version 8 42.91%

NOTE: THIS TABLE IS BASED ON % INCREASE FROM HANDSET TO HANDSET

Percentage increase/decrease from version/handset #1

The final set of charts shows the percentage increase of each version of the handset when compared to the original (rather than the one before it).

The graph shows that Samsung and HTC models haven’t deviated greatly from the price of their initial model, whilst both iPhones and Huawei models have seen a steep increase in price from their debut phone.

GRAPH
Huawei Samsung HTC iPhone
Version 1 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Version 2 28.33% 3.02% 13.82% 11.52%
Version 3 33.00% 4.78% 7.71% 85.87%
Version 4 43.00% -9.68% 17.89% 96.65%
Version 5 93.33% 9.37% 15.85% 130.11%
Version 6 133.00% 17.31% 42.07% 122.68%
Version 7 199.67% 26.84% 42.07% 159.85%
Version 8 271.38%

NOTE: THIS TABLE IS BASED ON % INCREASE COMPARED TO VERSION/HANDSET #1 - THE ORIGINAL - NOT BASED ON HANDSET TO HANDSET

Huawei Samsung HTC iPhone
Version 1 Huawei Ascend Mate Samsung Galaxy S4 HTC One X iPhone
Version 2 Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Samsung Galaxy S5 HTC One M7 iPhone 3G
Version 3 Huawei Mate 7 Samsung Galaxy S6 HTC One M8 iPhone 4
Version 4 Huawei Mate 8 Samsung Galaxy S7 HTC One M9 iPhone 5
Version 5 Huawei Mate 9 Samsung Galaxy S8 HTC 10 iPhone 6
Version 6 Huawei Mate 10 Samsung Galaxy S9 HTC U11 Plus iPhone 7
Version 7 Huawei Mate 20 Samsung Galaxy S10 HTC U12 Plus iPhone 8
Version 8 iPhone X