Ewan’s brother might be interested in reading a bit more about the Vertu product line. BusinessWeek took a moment to get inside the luxury mobile phone market and see what it’s all about. While you may think there can’t be too big a market for $6,500+ ‘dumbphones’ (as in not-smartphones), Neil Mawston, the associate director of Strategy Analytics, believes otherwise. He guesstimates that Vertu sells roughly 200,000 units per year, at an average of $8,000 each. That’s $1.6 Billion per year. Quite a bit of green.
And it’s growing. Russia, China, and the Middle East are growing rapidly, prompting Vertu president Alberto Torres to put sales on track for a 120% increase this year. These handsets are not sold based on the number of features they offer. In fact, the first Vertu with a camera was only offered earlier this year. Vertu (and other luxury handsets) are sold based on what they are made of.
In a conversation I had in Chicago at the Nokia Flagship Store earlier this year (which also houses a Vertu area in the back), I was informed that some people want a single handset that they can realistically use for years. By years, we’re talking more than 3-5.
What’s even greater for those of us not quite ready to trade in our cars for a cellphone, is that Nokia owns Vertu. That means some of the construction materials and ideas will trickle down to the other Nokia handsets. For example, the 8800 Arte and Arte Sapphire, announced earlier this year, use real leather and a sapphire in the d-pad.
My only question is when will we see some of this unbelievable build quality trickle down into Nokia’s Nseries handsets?