Are Smartphones Recession-Proof? I Doubt It.

Are Smartphones Recession-Proof? I Doubt It.

Published November 23, 2009

Earlier in the year you heard every proclaiming video games as the unsinkable ship of the recession. Hell, you even got me saying it. But as monthly numbers came in showing stagnant growth or even worse, sale decline, we soon found out that the gaming industry was as unsinkable as the Titantic. Thankfully, if I was in that movie, as the girl I would have survived (Peace Leo!).

So now that folks are jumping on the smartphone bandwagon ready to christen it as Titantic 2.0, I, once burned and wiser for the experience, just can’t ride on this one homie. It would be totally different if we were back 2007 or 2008 before the miserly hand of mean ol’ Mr. Recession was reaching into everyone’s pockets and helping himself. The average smartphone costs about 600 bucks or more without a contract. The price decreases if you sign your life away to a service provider for two years, but not much. I personally spent $499 on my Palm Pre. Granted there was a $100 rebate, but still, still a nice chunk of change. (Side note: Why is it that rebates take 6-8 weeks to get to my pockets, but go one cent over your spending limit, they’re ready to cut your service? I’m just saying.)

I understand the optimism, much like the gaming industry before it hit its financial iceberg, smartphones are surprisingly profitable when they should be floundering. According to PCWorld, smartphone sales will overtake PC sales come 2011. Motorola DROID, the latest “iPhone killer” has posted solid sales like my dear Palm Pre before it. And with so-called “dumbphones” becoming increasingly feature-rich and thereby smart, people won’t have much choice in the matter when it comes time to pony up some dough for a new phone.

But let’s go back to the price issue, especially with Black Friday starting early. Even though financial analysts are saying that the recession is over and stores are posting some gains, the effects are not being immediately felt by the folks who have yet to find another job. And while unemployment numbers may be down for the moment, there are still plenty of people collecting that meager check trying to make ends meet. So while the recession may not exist for a certain section of the populace, for many of us, it’s live and in living color making us choose between food or medication, rent or utilities. You best believe that as a freelancer, I had some money tucked away so I could get my shiny new piece of tech, not everyone has the luxury.

So until the recession is fully over and not kinda-sorta, I wouldn’t put my eggs into the recession-proof basket. You’re asking for a serious Humpty-Dumpty situation and a lot of people could have used those eggs to eat. is the premier destination for African-American’s in Technology and New Media.  We cover culturally relevant Technology industry news; mainstream Technology industry news; & African-American Technology and New Media Executives, Entrepreneurs, and Influencers. We also analyze emerging web trends and how they apply to web properties that target African-Americans or African-American culture.


Written by Sherri Smith, BlackWeb 2.0


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