In a world dominated by smartphones, it looks like classic flip-phones are still relevant, at least in Japan.
According to a report from Reuters, Japanese shipments of traditional flip-phones rose in 2014, for the first time after seven years, while smartphone shipments took the opposite path.
The data gathered by MM Research Institute Ltd. mentioned in the report shows that flip-phone shipments rose 5.7 percent, which equates to 10.58 million. On the other hand, shipments for smartphones were down for the second year in a row, falling 5.3 percent, to 27.70 million.
The telecommunication ministry also stated that people in Japan pay one of the highest smartphone fees among developed countries, while flip-phone rates account for the lowest. Additionally, there are reportedly many Japanese people, already accustomed to years of deflation, who are content with using flip-phones, which offer essential services like calls, texts, emails, and basic Internet access, which can be enough for many.
Lastly, the research institute emphasized that with Japan's mobile penetration rate of 98.5 percent, mobile growth in Japan has little area for remarkable overall growth. According to Hideaki Yokota, MM Research executive analyst:
"Smartphones are also peaking in terms of functionality and they tend to last a long time as well, so there are fewer renewals."
He also said that flip-phones had a strong renewal year for the devices' subscription cycle, implying that the reported growth might not repeat this year.