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Prepaid iPhone sales exploded in Q1

Published May 16th, 2013 5:45PM EDT
iPhone sales

A new report suggests that prepaid smartphones are becoming more popular among consumers. According to research from NPD Group, 32% of all smartphones sold in the first quarter were prepaid devices, up from 21% during the same period in 2012. Samsung was found to be the most popular vendor of prepaid smartphones, accounting for 32% of sales in the first quarter. Handsets from LG made up 22%, Huawei 11%, and Apple and HTC tied at 8%. Prepaid iPhone sales were found to have increased fourfold in Q1 though, while sales of LG smartphones doubled year-over-year.

“Prepaid has proven to be a real winner for national retailers,” said Baker. “The easy purchase cycle and grab-and-go nature of the product play into the strength of large-format stores. Certainly, companies like AT&T recognize this shift in purchasing as they ramp up their focus on prepaid phones with their recently announced ‘Aio’ product branding initiative.”

The research firm notes that consumers have become more interested in finding the best value for their dollar, rather than getting caught up in today’s mobile spec race. Consumers opted for older devices such as the Galaxy S II and iPhone 4S, which were found to be two of the top five prepaid smartphone models in Q1 2013, and were among the top-selling postpaid phones a year earlier.