Have Smartphone Makers Lost Touch With Reality?

This chart shows what U.S. smartphone users are willing to spend on a new device.

When Apple released the $999 iPhone X in the fall of 2017, many people thought that the company famous for its premium pricing had finally overdone it. No way anyone in their right mind would spend that much money on a smartphone. And yet here we are, one and a half years later and other smartphone brands have followed Apple’s lead, making price tags in excess of $1,000 the new norm for top-of-the-line devices.

This week’s Mobile World Congress has brought us to a new level of smartphone price escalation, however, with both Huawei and Samsung announcing foldable phones that will cost close to or even more than $2,000. While flexible screens certainly are one of the more impressive innovations the smartphone industry has had to offer lately, the prices of the first flexible smartphones suggest that the industry has lost touch with reality. 

According to a recent USA Today poll, the vast majority of smartphone users in the U.S. aren't willing to spend more than $750 on a new device. Only 3 percent of the respondents expressed their willingness to spend more than $1,000 on a new phone, with prices of $2,000 or more too absurd to even make it into the survey.