US Consumers want Longer Battery Life and a Headphone Jack in their Smartphones

In a recent infographic published by Statista, a survey was shown that indicates that the most desired feature of a new smartphone is longer battery life. The infographic is based on a US consumer survey by YouGov. The survey had two parts that asked consumers if they would buy a smartphone without a headphone jack and what the most interesting of new feature would be for their next smartphone? The survey was performed on September 22 almost a week after the Apple iPhone 7 went on sale in the US.

While Statista did not report on the results of the headphone jack question (‘Would you be interested in buying a smartphone without a headphone jack’), it instead created the following infographic and broke down the interest in new smartphone features by gender. The question of the headphone jack was answered across all demographic groups very equally. Around 70% of the respondents are ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ interested in buying a phone without a headphone jack. I guess that all the people that wiped the iPhone 7 from the Apple store selves are the other 30%.

Source: Statista – The most wanted smartphone features

The question of what the most important smartphone features are was also a very clear statement to the manufacturers. Longer battery life, a shatter proof screen and water resistance were the top three with better camera performance coming next. Interestingly, longer battery life is most important to almost half of the respondents (40% – 50%) across all demographic groups. With a survey group size of 863 consumers, one has to be careful with some of these demographic groups as the participant numbers are getting pretty small in some of these groups.

Analyst Comment

When we look at the very strong evidence in this survey, we have to wonder why manufacturers are not making battery life the biggest topic of their development and release strategy? When we compare the latest iPhone 7 release, Apple ticked off items number #3, #4 and #5 of the list while numbers #1 and #2 where somewhat absent from the launch event. Apple did mention that the usage time does go up to some extent, but by no means was this a focus of their presentation.

I would think that Apple is one of the best when it comes to predicting user interest in certain features. Why is their view of consumer preferences so different from what YouGov found out in September? Is it that these kind of internet surveys attract a specific group of people that does not necessarily represent the Apple buyer? That’s a question that is difficult to answer, but maybe Apple is just talking about what they can do better than others (a color perfect display for example), while they do not have answer for a better battery technology. Nevertheless, we all expect the next smartphone to be brighter, faster with more memory and coming with any other gadget including the fastest wireless connection possible. All these features eat up more power than yearly battery technology improvements can provide. – NH

I was surprised to see that issues such as the legibility of the display in high ambient light didn’t come up. There are rumours around this week that E Ink technology might be used to add a second display to the next Apple phone and that would address the battery life issue. However, we would need more sophisticated polling techniques to work out whether users are prepared to trade off display quality for battery life. I suspect not. (BR)