High-end phone prices increased drastically in 2017, was it justified? (poll results)

We asked you last week whether you'd rather make do without fragile glass rears, a bit of extra storage, or cropp-y 2:1 displays, if you could shave a hundred off the average retail prices of high-end phones this year, and the result was overwhelmingly yes. 

There has never been a year-on-year increase in flagship pricing as large as there was in 2017, and evidently most of you are at the opinion that phone makers are pushing the wrong buttons when it comes to meaningful upgrades that would justify the new normal $700+ price for a high-ender.

High-end phones' price increase has never been so drastic, is it justified?


Retail prices for high-end phones from the big three brands in the US - Apple, Samsung and LG - have been steadily rising from the very beginning of the race when the OG iPhone was introduced to our unsuspecting wallets, as you can grasp from the last chart above. That one was $500 at launch, and now the iPhone 8 starts off at $700, and you are left with a dollar. The first Samsung Galaxy was also priced $500, while spring season's Galaxy S8 blasted off at the shameful $750.

You catch the drift, but ever since smartphone subsidies were removed by carriers, we've seen a much more pronounced rise in flagship phone prices, until we reached "the year of the $1000 phone," i.e. this year, with phones like the iPhone X or Note 8. Not only has the concept of the $400 flagship gone the way of the dodo bird, as Chinese makers like Huawei, honor and OnePlus have also increased their starting tags, but there's never been a launch price increase for high-end handsets as drastic as from last year to this year. 

As you can see in the slides above, every major phone's successor is more expensive than last year's edition, sometimes drastically so, raising the average year-on-year price significantly, to the highest ever. We aren't even including Google's own phone line, which used to be the best value-for-money before the search giant decided to vertically integrate, and we are now left with a Pixel 2 XL that costs north of a thousand euros, for instance. There are plenty of reasons which can be cited for that jump, and corporate greed is not even highest on the list - 2017 phones got drastically overhauled in terms of design and materials used, 18:9 HDR displays became obligatory, and the basic storage amounts got bumped.



1. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

No. It wasn't justified.

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7607; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Your right it isn't justified. However the mobile industry knows that the vast majority of the population rely's on their smartphones for their daily tasks and computing needs. Look with 1.5 billion smartphones that sold last year, and 1.3 before that. As a matter of fact there is more smartphones sold every year compared to every tablet, laptop, desktop, 2 in 1, smart watches sold in the same year. Unless the face of computing changes again. Then people will continue to buy these smartphones in droves. Just a fact.

7. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

This is the same opinion almost every tech site has shared with regard to smartphone price increases. I'm fully aware of this stance. However, purely looking at specs and innovation, I don't see it justified.

22. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

It's not justified, they are just raising prices because people keep buying. We are at a point where entry level phones are actually worth using, mid range devices are more than most people would ever need, but everyone keeps buying the flagships so they can have the status of owning the best.

11. Scott93274

Posts: 6042; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I somehow missed voting in this poll, but I would definitely say "no".

23. you_sukk_it

Posts: 219; Member since: Apr 11, 2017

anyone notice phjone arena not putting the rape priced iphone x in the picture above ? fake asz biased phonearena!

2. torr310

Posts: 1724; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

The result shows most people voted for "No", but how many will not buy those expensive phones?

10. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

I see your point. I Will not buy these phones at their current price. I got my OG Pixel XL for free. I bought my wife's Pixel for $200 off. So I will get one of these new devices, I just will not pay full price for them.

20. chenski

Posts: 789; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Most people I think just get them on plans

3. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

In the US, since carriers have resorted to device payment, no phone at any cost is out of reach for the majority. As long as you have a decent job, or however you make money; you can get a phone one way or another. But this doesn't justify a phone cost $1000+. Portable computers, like laptops have always been more expensive than desktops, because making parts smaller costs more money, do to lower yields and more expensive equipment. Smartphones are small computers, and some even rival what people use a normal desk/laptop for. Without the BOGO deal, I wouldn't have bought the Note 8, even though I did eye the iPhone X as I am due for an upgrade, I just don't think I can stomach paying $1000 for a toy I plan to barely use. I wanted to have the anniversary iPhone as a nice keep-sake. But they didn't even make the device special at all. Considering all its features are pretty much equal to what OEM's had 3 years ago, and those models new were less than $800, why pay an extra $200, when you can get an older phone with the same features for less than half of $1000? The way to keep prices down, is to not buy the overpriced gimmicky BS from either Samsung or Apple. Even though Samsung offers the Note at a value equal or above $1000, that doesn't mean they have to sell it for that cost. I won't be buying a new phone in 2018. I woudl like an S10(X) or Note X(10 if they do those. But buying every year like I use too? That's over!

8. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

"I did eye the iPhone X as I am due for an upgrade, I just don't think I can stomach paying $1000 for a toy I plan to barely use". This doesn't make any sense. You s**t on Apple all the time and yet you buy their products like an idiot but knowing you Techie anything is possible with you.

9. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Bruh is the biggest masochistic twat I've ever seen. What he's doing is something akin to me buying a Samsung product... while shitting on Samsung products: Why bother? I consider Samsung's phones worthless, so I'm not paying for them... period. Techie seems to enjoy spending money on things he hates, which is retarded in and of itself, but there's probably something deeper to it. So I'll ask him directly: If the phones are trash to you (Techie), why waste money on them?

14. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Why waste money on them? So he can post his s**t posts here in PA and get laughed at. Dude got banned twice and still asking for it. He's way beyond retard.

16. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

@kiko. That’s true and he will complain about his iPhone x next year. Now he has the new iPad Pro he says. He only visits iPhone or Samsung articles. You would think a tech lover would follow all.

19. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMAO, you have kiko and plastic all worked up.

4. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

Overwhelmingly no, as it should. Faith in humanity restored.

5. rsiders

Posts: 2037; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Smaller batteries with bigger screens? More fragile phones? Fast charging bricks not including in the box? Of course it is justified!! :D

12. Mr.mobile

Posts: 130; Member since: Mar 09, 2017

What ever phone it may be Iphone x Iphone 8 plus Iphone 8 Samsung note 8 Samsung S8+ LGV30 Pixel xl2 Pixel Mate 10 Mix 2 Should not more than $600

13. xocomaox

Posts: 208; Member since: Dec 14, 2015

These prices aren't even accurate. Unless they are not in USD, to which I apologize.

15. lallolu

Posts: 734; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

It will be like this until cheaper alternatives make a comeback. Oneplus, Xiaomi, Meizu, etc. made phone prices crumble when they started releasing premium phones at reasonable prices. Now, that they have 'made' a name, they have also increased their prices. This has left a window for new actors to come in.

18. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 726; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

There are too many smartphone OEMs. This bubble will burst as soon as people are not willing to spend $700++ on their phone anymore. It might will take another 5 years but then the time of truth is coming.

17. Subie

Posts: 2442; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

The poll is irrelevant. And complaining is pointless. People need to speak with their wallets. Then you'd see change.

21. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

I refuse to buy a phone for more than $500.00 And, I haven't, for the last 3 phone cycles. I will WAIT til a new one comes out, then buy "last years" new phone, typically for 1/2 off. The latest whiz-bang features (gimmicks), latest OS makes no nevermind to me. For me, they are fast enough, screens are clear enough, have enough ram etc. First thing I look for is battery size. Second thing I look for is a track record for a STABLE OS, regardless of which kind.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless