Mobile Phone Vendors Pay Heed to High Style

Consumers focus more on style of the mobile phone, rather than technical functionality, when making purchase decisions, experts tell TechNewsWorld.

A report from Boston-based Strategy Analytics, the global consulting company, analyzes the reasons for U.S. and Western Europe wireless device purchases, including the primary motivating factors for device purchases.

Iconic Designs

“Iconic designs such as the V3 RAZR have propelled the MOTO brand to the top of the style-conscious consumers personal priority list,” said Paul Brown, an analyst with Strategic Analystics. “However, Motorola users in Western Europe report the lowest level of repeat purchase intention among the top six brands.”

Style and brand are the two most important purchase decision factors, the research indicates. The study said that Motorola leads in terms of style, with trend-setting devices like the V3 RAZR phone. However, Nokia is still the industry’s most trusted brand in both the U.S. and Western Europe.

Most interestingly, though style was the decisive factor in current purchases, when asked about purchase priorities for future device purchases, consumers ranked style fifth in the U.S. and sixth in Western Europe, behind price, ease of use, battery life, display and size or weight.

The study said Nokia users demonstrate the strongest brand loyalty in Western Europe, with 70 percent claiming that their next device will definitely or probably be another Nokia.

Technophile Trends

“Technophiles in Western Europe prefer Sony Ericsson, while those in the U.S. prefer Sanyo brand products,” said David Kerr, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics, global wireless practice. “Sony Ericsson has firmly re-established its dominance as a technology innovator, with 49 percent of users in Western Europe choosing SEMC due to its feature/technology offerings.”

This prediction was confirmed by many of the offerings on display at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. LG Mobile Phones displayed a number of handset styles and functions. Devices on display demonstrate video telephony, 5 mega-pixel camera capability and terrestrial DMB functionality.

Several new swivel designs and accessories “exude style” and accentuate the mobile phone users’ experience, the company said. What is more, entertainment takes center stage with handsets capable of mobile karaoke and 3D mobile gaming; the ‘PowerPlay’ handset boasts a million polygons per second. The company said other handsets provide consumers with a glimpse into future mobile phone technology in the U.S., including units that double as navigation devices and a health-oriented handset that can test blood sugar, body fat and stress levels.

“Our 2006 handset roadmap features a myriad of products that push the envelope of mobile phone technology and functionality,” said Juno Cho, president of LG Electronics mobile communications unit.

Another Korean electronics company, Samsung Electronics, is launching a global roaming mobile phone with a QWERTY keyboard that allows it to function almost like a mini laptop PC in the U.S. market. The SCH-i830 phone has a typewriter-style keypad and is the successor to the SCH-i730 smart phone released last year in the U.S., where it enjoyed great popularity, merging the style and functionality themes, the company said.

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