You would think that flip-phones have pretty much died off by now, having been replaced by smartphones, but that’s not the case. In fact, flip-phones are actually growing in popularity in Japan while smartphones continue to shrink. Comparing the 5.7% increase in flip-phone shipments to the 5.3% decrease in smartphone shipments makes it clear that flip-phones aren’t dead.
Japanese shipments of traditional flip-phones rose in 2014 for the first time in seven years while smartphone shipments fell, highlighting Japanese consumers’ tenacious attachment to the familiar and typically less expensive older models. Dubbed “Galapagos” phones because they have evolved to meet unique Japanese standards and tastes, flip-phone shipments rose 5.7 percent to 10.58 million in 2014, data from market researcher MM Research Institute Ltd shows. Smartphone shipments fell 5.3 percent to 27.70 million, down for a second year. Users in Japan pay some of the highest smartphone fees among developed nations, the telecommunications ministry says, while flip-phone rates are among the lowest. Many Japanese accustomed to years of deflation are content with old-style flip-phones offering voice calling, email and in most cases basic Internet services.