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Best Budget Smartphones Under $150 for Students


In view of the global health control regulations and social distancing measurement over the past few years, most working adults experienced a certain degree of work-from-home (WFH) arrangement. In fact, as a result of these worldwide social restrictions, study-from-home (SFH) trends among students have also inevitably emerged. 

The substantial increase in tablet and smartphone sales since 2020 is evidence of the effects of these WFH and SFH trends. With these trends and stats in mind, let’s zoom in on the smartphone trends among students and the business prospects associated with them. 

Table of Contents
Smartphone usage among students
3 popular budget smartphone trends for students in 2023
Moving ahead

Smartphone usage among students

Thanks to the popularity of e-learning as well as learning-from-home requirements, smartphone usage among students has been on a steady rise. In fact, the latest study conducted on college students in the US indicated that more than half of the students own smartphones nowadays and about 82% of them use smartphones for school-related tasks.

On top of the above stats, the rapid expansion of educational apps available globally on Google Play and the Apple App Store is another indicator of how widespread mobile device usage is among students today. 

In fact, the education apps ranked second in the most popular app categories on Google Play Store in 2022, a clear marker of the growth of Android devices among students. In contrast, in the same year, business apps took second place on the Apple App Store, while educational apps ranked third.

The global education app market is expected to climb from 2022 onwards at a remarkable 28.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), surpassing US $124.7 billion by 2027. This figure is a more than double increment compared to a previous forecast of US $46.9 billion by 2024.

3 popular budget smartphone trends for students in 2023

1. Getting bigger

Ever wonder what makes a smartphone expensive? Apparently, research showed that a display screen is almost always the most costly item among the list of raw materials of a mobile phone, aside from advanced connectivity components such as antennas that link with a 5G connection. This also explains why budget smartphones traditionally featured smaller screens than their high-end counterparts with larger screen sizes.

Samsung gives a clear definition of small, medium, and large mobile phone screen sizes; anything below 4.5 inches is considered small, and those between 5.5 to 6.5 inches are deemed medium, whereas anything beyond 6.5-inch display is classified as mobile phones with large screens. Nevertheless, there’s in fact a very thin line between smartphones with 6.5 inches screen sizes and those slightly bigger than 6.5 inches.

For example, a 6.5-inch smartphone that costs below US $100 that is still fully equipped with all the great smartphone features such as a triple camera and a 5,000 mAh battery, may not look and feel different in terms of sizes, compared to a less than $150 smartphone that comes with a 6.51 inches screen. In reality, it is also impossible to distinguish a smartphone with a large battery or a long battery life apart from those without a long-lasting battery life.

Smartphone screen showing different apps

People however, can easily tell the difference when it comes to a much larger screen size at about 6.7 inches screen, especially if it is also equipped with a FullView display or what is also known as an edge-to-edge display feature. The fantastic news is even though smartphones with such massive screen sizes used to be quite costly, it is currently possible to obtain them for under US $130 via wholesale purchase.

Prices for large-screen phones with quad cameras, like this Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro phone, may only see a little increase in price, up to about US $200. The fact that Xiaomi is well-recognized for its camera performance and light-thin clear screen resolution may very well offset the slightly higher price point for those who would like to offer a little variant of budget smartphones for students. 

2. Getting mainstream

It’s official. Smartphones for students — a product category that used to be considered a rather niche, less popular type, is now one of the product lines that the famous, long-established mobile companies are also going after with major marketing efforts involved.

As shown in the picture below, the Motorola Moto G line of smartphones is an excellent example of such an effort. Its versatile features and wholesale price level make it a great choice for anyone who is looking to purchase a wholesale budget smartphone at an attractive wholesale price level starting from around US $75, or at about double the price for a newer, more advanced Motorola Moto G model released in 2022.

Back and front view of the Moto G Power

The world’s number 1 smartphone leader, as per the past year’s global market share record (from December 2021 to December 2022).  Samsung, on the other hand, also accelerated its expansion in the budget smartphone territory. 

It is releasing at least 5 Samsung smartphone budget models under its “Samsung’s Galaxy A” series, which come with affordable prices. The retail price range starts from around US $125, including 2 new upcoming 5G models in January 2023.

In fact, Samsung has started launching budget smartphone models such as Samsung Galaxy A22 5G and A13 5G since mid-2021, which also gives rise to wholesale business opportunities for the relevant accessories such as this replacement screen display for Samsung A22 5G and this A22 protective phone case.

3. Getting better

According to a US-based nonprofit organization that promotes technology usage among the global education community, 4 out of the 6 ways that students can fully utilize their smartphones in learning are related to the smartphone’s internet capacity, whereas the other 2 are related to the camera/video capacity.

In other words, a brand new phone with a dual camera that supports 4G and a fast-charging feature is more than sufficient to perform any ordinary smartphone functions for education purposes. 

So how about getting a smartphone with all the above features listed and having an extra big 6.5 inches screen, a Sony IMX rear camera, and a dual-sim card at the same time? While many may have thought that these extra features may cost much more, the truth is, a student smartphone such as this Blackview A55 that is fully equipped with all these essential features may go from as low as US $60 wholesale price only!

In fact, the wholesale prices for budget smartphones have become so much more competitive that one can easily enjoy what used to be luxurious features on smartphones — the AMOLED screen display and quad camera at a wholesale budget of around US $150 only. 

A Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 smartphone, as featured in the picture below, for example, costs around US $155 at a wholesale level, whereas another similar model — the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S comes with a starting wholesale price of US $150. 

Meanwhile, at a wholesale level, one may also be pleasantly delighted to discover that a POCO M5s smartphone with a comparable AMOLED display size, a mild water resistance feature, a side fingerprint sensor, and a big battery that enables a long time usage fetches a wholesale price tag of US $140 only.

A budget smartphone with AMOLED display consumes less power

Overall, we can succinctly conclude that the budget smartphone market nowadays not only comes with affordable phones but is also pretty well fitted out. Students who often use smartphones on a daily basis for school or any out-of-the-classroom work as well as some simple calls and texting purposes can therefore benefit more from these improved smartphones. 

They may now take advantage of improved features that were previously unavailable on cheap budget phones or may only have been available to them in the form of secondhand or used smartphones.

Moving ahead

The SFH trends spurred by global health and social distance restrictions in recent years have stimulated the sales of smartphones, especially Android smartphones among students. The foreseeable good thing is, given the well-recognized benefits of smartphones in education, it is likely a usage trend that’s going to stay on. 

For any wholesalers who are keen to explore further ways to capitalize on the budget smartphones market, the bigger, better features and more well-known brands of budget smartphones that focus on modern designs to improve overall user experience are undoubtedly worthwhile learning about. 

Smartphone retailers may also review some must-have features for smartphones for students to assist in their purchase decisions. To get additional sourcing ideas and advice for your business venture, check out the other articles available on Alibaba Reads!

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