The saying that a rising tide lifts all boats holds a lot of water, but even in a declining market, it’s possible to do well.

In 2018, the Australian smartphone market dropped 9% year-on-year, but even in that market, Alcatel has announced today that it did rather well last year, doubling its business and selling close to a million devices.

Alcatel is recognised by IDC as the number three smartphone vendor by volume in the Australia market, a position that it reinforced throughout 2018. It has been the number three vendor by volume for 3.5 years, or 14 consecutive quarters. This is no mean feat for the little brand that could; even though it doesn’t sell flashy $1500+ smartphones, Alcatel moves a lot of product.

Alcatel’s Australian MD Sam Skontos has some pretty strong views on why Australia’s smartphone market slumped a little last year:

“The pricing on smartphone devices is simply getting ridiculous and consumers are now clearly seeing that highly-featured phones do not need to cost the same as a large screen 4K television or a round the world airfare.

This is only reinforced by the fact that while the market overall decreased significantly, we experienced a record year off the back of bringing affordable innovation to Australians”

As is often the case, we can only agree; while it’s nice to have a flashy, premium smartphone, they’re priced such that few people can really enjoy them. While many of us at Ausdroid have premium smartphones, let’s be honest here – they’re not because we’ve bought them. They’re review units that we’ve been allowed to keep.

How many among us would have those phones if we had to pay full retail price for them ourselves? The answer is very few.

This is where brands like Alcatel matter, and matter a lot. They make affordable phones that don’t look cheap. They make good gear that the majority of people can afford, and that looks premium (even if the price tag doesn’t match).

One of Android’s earlier catchphrases was “Be together, Not the same”, and I think there’s a lot of home truths in that.

Far better to have a diverse mobile market rather than one controlled by one or two dominant brands. In Australia, we’re lucky to have that. Long may it last.