Features UK’s premium smartphone buyers prioritise when picking a new device
February 28th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Features UK’s premium smartphone buyers prioritise when picking a new device

A new YouGov Surveys study run between February 20-21 reveals the key features prioritised by UK smartphone buyers in three different price bands.

Four-fifths of UK’s “price-aware” smartphone buyers (those who have a specific price range in mind for their next purchase) rate battery life as an important factor when choosing their next smartphone (78%). Storage memory size (59%) and camera photograph quality (55%) are also big drawcards, as are screen size (46%), battery charging time (45%) and the operating system (45%).

Two-fifths of these consumers also place an importance on the phone’s brand (43%), while durability (37%) and camera video quality (37%) are also prioritised by sizeable share of consumers.

Price-aware smartphone buyers refer to those UK consumers who selected a specific price band when asked about the amount they will spend on their next smartphone purchase, thus excluding those who didn’t yet know what their budget would be.

In comparison to this group, premium smartphone buyers and ultra-premium smartphone buyers were much likelier to place a higher importance on factors such as brand and camera photo quality. Premium smartphone buyers are those who will spend between £750 and £1000 on their next device, while ultra-premium buyers are those who will cough up over £1000. In addition to the chart below featuring all the data points, we also present some key takeaways.

Ultra-premium smartphone buyers scrutinise more features

Unsurprisingly, the ultra-premium buyers feel more entitled to and/or scrutinise a higher number of features than the average UK smartphone buyer. This reflects in the fact that they over-index the overall group on 13 of the 14 features we asked about, and on 10 out of 14 features compared to premium buyers.

Battery life and storage capacity are more important factors among premium smartphone buyers

Even among ultra-premium smartphone buyers, battery life retained its primacy as a key feature (77%), but premium smartphone buyers are noticeably likelier to place importance on battery life (85%). In a similar vein, premium smartphone buyers are also likelier to consider battery charging time as an important factor (54% vs 48% ultra-premium vs 45% all price aware consumers).

A higher share of premium range buyers also places an importance on storage capacity of a device (67% vs 62% of ultra-premium buyers). Storage capacity is also the second-most important feature among the broader price-aware group (59%).

Which features to ultra-premium smartphone buyers most consider?

On the other hand, ultra-premium smartphone buyers are six-percentage points likelier than premium smartphone buyers and 16-percentage points likelier than the overall group to rate camera picture performance as a key feature (70% vs 64% vs 54%).

They are also a whopping 58% likelier than the overall group to be brand conscious when buying a smartphone (68% vs 43%). Three-fifths of premium smartphone buyers also consider brand an important determinant in their phone choice (59%).

Picture quality is more important to people than video quality

Marketers and phone manufacturers must note that consumers across price bands are much likelier to think about photograph quality than video quality when buying a new device. For instance, ultra-premium smartphone buyers are 19 percentage points likelier to rate photography as a key feature compared to video quality (70% vs 51%).

Premium smartphone buyers are 15 percentage points likelier to rate picture quality over video quality (64% vs 49%). Meanwhile, there is a 17-percentage-points difference in the preference rates for those features among the overall group (54% vs 37%).

Durability and years of software updates

With several Android phone manufacturers improving the period of software support for their devices to bring it in line with Apple standards, we also asked about this factor. Somewhat surprisingly, it was among the bottom two factors across all price bands. Only a fifth of all price-aware smartphone buyers consider it an important aspect and this share rises only slightly among premium buyers (22%) and ultra-premium smartphone buyers (25%).

This could partially be a result of minimal awareness about this factor and is potentially an area that phone brands could target in their marketing. Afterall, durability is rated as an important feature by more than twice as many ultra-premium smartphone buyers (57%). Marketers could position the increased duration of software updates as an aspect of a phone’s durability.

This is part one in a three-part series examining the key features and factors considered by smartphone buyers in the UK. In the upcoming pieces, we will examine in greater detail the views of mid-range and budget smartphone buyers.

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in the UK with an overall sample size of 2,018 adults. All surveys were conducted online in December 2022. Data for UK uses a nationally representative sample. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.