Get ready to pay up to 15% for the most popular phones in 2022 – here's the math
Prices are rising for smartphones, and even when they're not, shrinkflation will set in
Smartphone prices are on the rise in 2022, and even when they seem to cost the same year-over-year, shrinkflation on specs and innovation is setting in.
How much more are you going to pay? You’ll be paying anywhere from 7.5% to nearly 15% for major smartphone upgrades this year, according to my analysis of two of the most popular low-cost phones available. The first major smartphone to rise in price is the “budget” phone from Apple: the iPhone SE 3 cost a little more than its predecessor, the iPhone SE 2.
The iPhone SE 3 price is $429 and has just 64GB of storage (no upgrade from the last generation). The iPhone SE 2 (which also started at 64GB) and SE 1 (started at 16GB) both cost $399 and are now no longer sold by Apple. This is the cheapest new iPhone you can buy and represents a 7.5% increase for customers.
Later this year, it’s going to get worse for iPhone Mini buyers who adore the cheaper price and smaller size among Apple’s four higher-end smartphones. The iPhone 13 Mini currently costs $699, but all indications suggest that the company will do away with its critically loved (but less popular of the four) ‘Mini’ lineup. There won’t be an iPhone 14 Mini with a 5.4-inch display if you are to believe all of the (very believable) rumors.
iPhone 14 leaks point to there being a larger non-Pro iPhone with a 6.7-inch size, joining the iPhone 14 at 6.1 inches (unchanged). It’s basically an iPhone 14 Pro without all of the Pro-level bells and whistles (the key difference being the camera).
So, where will iPhone Mini diehards go? The iPhone 14 is the next likely choice with a small screen size bump from 5.4 inches to 6.1 inches, but a significant price bump of $100 (currently the iPhone 13 costs $799). That represents a 14.3% increase year over year.
Lastly, I’m noticing that specs and true innovation may be stagnant in 2022, and it may be a way to keep costs down. This is harder to calculate (on purpose) Think of it as smartphone shrinkflation. Phones at 64GB (iPhone) and 128GB (many Androids) as their starting sizes are likely to stick around, and manufacturers may push the envelope next year on mid-tier products, saving any true innovation on flagship-level phones where they can get away with charging more.
I’ll keep an ear out for more specifics from my retail and manufacturing sources, but it seems as if their marketing departments will have to work overtime in order to get your suddenly-all-too-precious dollar in 2022.