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Only 16% of people buy their mobile phone on the high street, says research

MAY 2016 – Phonescheme survey shows mobile buying habits changing; 1 in 4 people choose to own their phone with SIM-only over bundled contracts.

The high street is now only the first port of call for a mere 16% of people in the UK when seeking out a new mobile phone deal, according to a survey of over 4,000 people, from smartphone salary sacrifice provider Phonescheme.

Phonescheme’s research showed that mobile buying habits are changing dramatically with 77% of people now preferring to look for deals online, even though this means they don’t get to touch the phone and see if it is right for them.

Also, low total cost of ownership (airtime and the cost of the phone over the contract period) is the most important factor when people take out a new phone deal, cited by 70%, and beats free minutes and unlimited data. Short contract terms are only important to 15% of respondents.

Surprisingly only 10% claim they want to upgrade their phone as often as possible and 45% say they are not interested in the latest models, preferring instead to focus on getting a good deal.

The research also reveals that the standard ‘bundled’ contracts are still the way 70% of consumers get their phone, 23% now opt for owning the phone outright and buying a SIM-only deal, with just 7% opting for Pay As You Go.

It seems that many people are also unaware of when payment of their current phone deal ends, risking being moved onto standard tariffs or delaying their opportunity to upgrade. While 80% claim they know when their contract expires, the other 20% are unsure, and 43% don’t know when they finish paying for the cost of their phone.

Smartphone salary sacrifice schemes like Phonescheme allow people working for participating employers to save up to 42% on the cost of a phone by paying for the handset out of their salary and getting a SIM only deal.

Stephen Holt, Commercial Director, Phonescheme said: “Clearly consumers are becoming savvier about their choice of mobile phone deal and taking a range of different factors into account, many opting to separate their choice of device from their minutes and data. Shopping around to find the best deal obviously matters to most people and they should always check what they might be able to get through staff benefits, rather than simply taking a contract out with a mobile operator.”

Phonescheme is a service from Grass Roots Employee Solutions; the research was conducted anonymously among the users of its services in March 2016.

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