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There is a portion of the population across the pond who are not buying smartphones. Instead they are opting for an old school style like the once popular flip phone. Citing advantages like, longer battery life, smaller size and being less addictive, buyers are looking for “vintage” Motorolas, Nokias and Ericssons. According to the Daily Mail, resellers of cell phones have reported a spike in the last year of requests for these older phones. The surge of old cell phone popularity in Britain is a brilliant thing to behold.
Though smartphones are truly a wonder of the modern world, with the advent of tablets and tinier laptops, consumers are discovering that they do not require the connectivity of a smartphone when they are already connected to the internet world on another, more versatile, device. The ability to make calls, send texts and maybe play a game of Snake are all they need from their cell phone.
Just like all things vintage, some of these old cell phone models are in short supply. Therefore, many of them are not cheap. Djassem Haddad, a vintage mobile phone dealer said that some models are priced at 1,000 euros, which is $1,360. He said that customers seem prepared for such pricing. Many of the desired models were limited editions, even when they were new. By comparison, a Nokia 8800 can be purchased on Haddad’s website for about $330. Whereas, the Nokia 8800 Arte Gold sells for over $1,000.
Besides being a better size for pockets, having a battery that lasts a couple of weeks and arcade-style 8-bit games, there are other valid reasons for this new-found love for the old cell phones. If a limited edition vintage phone is not necessary, it is possible to find older phones for cheap prices. Plus, the older phones were tough. They could take a lot more damage than an iPhone and the consumer did not have to buy special protectors for them, though they were available. Remember the belt holsters?
There is something to be said, as well, for nostalgia. Much like listening to an old vinyl record album, using an old school cell phone gives the user the feeling that they are standing out from the madding crowd. Pulling out a Kyocera flip phone in a sea of iPhones can give a gal or guy a sense of true individuality.
Founder of Lekki, Maxime Chanson, finds that she has two profile types who have visited her resale cell phone store since 2010. There are 25-35 year old customers looking for that offbeat, retro kind of vintage phone. For them the the motivation is to be different from the rest of their friends. The other profile are the people who are desirous of an old cell phone for nostalgia purposes. They want to use the phone they used when they were young and life was simpler.
Chanson goes on to say that while some customers are actually using the old cell phone to augment their smartphone, others have decided to step away from the major phone makers’ ongoing techno race with each other. The surge of old cell phone popularity in Britain is an indicator that it is okay to not keep up the Jones’ and that it is even cooler not to try.
By Stacy Lamy