European Businesses Say Mobile Phones Are Too Fragile

86% of businesses surveyed have experienced damage to company phones significant enough to require repair or replacement

READING, UK, and MWC BARCELONA, 25th February 2019Businesses across Europe are spending more than ever on mobiles for their workforce. Increasing costs and loss of productivity due to phones being too fragile for the work environment, expensive repairs and replacements are making the case for rugged devices ever stronger, according to new research released today by Cat® phones.

A survey of mobile phone buyers at 497 European businesses1, shows 69% feel phones damage easily. 69% also say that they are spending more on company phones than ever before. More than half of respondents say repair and replacement of broken devices is a growing problem for their business.

99% of business phone buyers have had to deal with damage to company phones in the last three years, with 86% saying that there has been damage significant enough to require repair or replacement to an employee’s device. Common causes are broken screens, 62% have seen this, physical breakage (47%), water damage (44%) and faults caused by dust or sand getting into the device (21%).

Productivity is also affected when employees are forced to go without a mobile phone while it’s being repaired or replaced. 31% of businesses report a major impact on productivity and a further 40% a notable impact (71% affected overall) for this reason. This is exacerbated by repair times. Just 21% say repairs take up to one working day, while the majority (63%) say repairs can take from two days up to a working week. A further 16% have seen some repairs take even longer.

Research carried out by leading mobile communications analysts, CCS Insight, indicates that one in three European consumers have experienced a broken smartphone screen in the last three years. Replacing a broken screen on a high-end smartphone without insurance is not cheap. For instance, a single screen repair on the newest flagship smartphones can cost between €150 and €360, while for major repairs such as liquid or water damage, or broken buttons, up to €650.

In a business context, where buyers procure multiple devices for their workforce, these costs quickly escalate. Even with the economies of scale associated with business service contracts, business phone buyers reported spending up to €342 per device repair.

Ben Wood, Chief of Research, CCS Insight, commented: “The fragility of modern smartphones has become a real issue. It is little surprise that business are looking for more rugged devices given the costs associated with repairing smartphones and negative impact on productivity when a device breaks.”

Hence, device durability has come to be one of the leading considerations for IT decision makers and phone buyers within enterprises – on a par with connectivity, security, and device manageability.2

Switching to a rugged device that is fit for purpose is on the agenda for mobile phone buyers in European businesses. 44% are considering replacing their enterprise portfolio with rugged devices while a savvy 8% already have. Rugged devices are among the fastest growing enterprise mobility investment areas, with 21% of IT decision makers indicating they are considering expenditure in this area in the next 12 months3.

Riccardo Ferree Drago, owner at Drago Fleet said: “In this business, phones are constantly being dropped and long days require the best battery life we can get our hands on.”

“I’ve used every rugged device out there and hands down Cat is just the best, period! Outfitting a fleet is expensive but with Cat phones I never have to worry because the phones don’t break. And if anything goes wrong you can rely on the best warranty – it’s next to indestructible!”

Frequent and costly repairs or replacements mean that customers spend much more money over the lifetime of their device than just the initial purchase price. Plus, expectations on a mobile phone are high and device lifecycles are lengthening. A third of European respondents to a recent CCS research Mobile Buying Survey said they planned to keep their phones for longer. In Western Europe, CCS research suggests people are, on average, keeping phones for 40 months. With the likelihood that a device will need to be repaired at some point, the total cost of ownership over its lifetime can be significant.

One customer, Frauport (Frankfurt Airport), has been using Cat phones since 2012, benefitting from the robust reliability on the handsets and reduced repair costs: “After seven years, 83% of over a thousand Cat rugged feature phones are still in working use. Of the total, only 4% have been handled by our Service & Repairs Centre.”

Cat phones customers live and work in tough environments that push phones to their limits. However, confidence in its industry-leading rugged smartphones includes a market-leading guarantee around screen damage. If a customer accidentally damages or breaks the Corning® Gorilla® Glass-protected screen on a Cat smart phone within the warranty period, Cat phones will repair or replace the screen*for free.

This confidence is underpinned by the rigorous testing each product undergoes before launch. For example, the flagship Cat S61 smartphone boasts military-grade hardware (Mil-Spec 810G). It is dustproof, and waterproof to depths of up to 3m for 1 hour (certified IP68 and IP69K), and its display is protected by thick Gorilla® Glass 5 and surrounded by a protective ridge built into the industrial design. It is also built to survive the uniquely challenging Cat phones drop test from 1.8m onto a steel surface, 30 times in different orientations.

See the Cat phones range of rugged devices and enterprise use cases at MWC 2019, stand CS78, Congress Square, where interactive demonstrations showcase how thermal imaging and rugged technology is benefiting the emergency services, construction, agriculture and logistics industries.

1 Source: Bullitt Group research with Research Now, European Business survey 2019 (497 respondents)

2 Source: CCS Insight Digital Workplace IT Decision Maker Survey 2018

3 Source: Bullitt Group Research, Rugged Smartphone User Survey 2018 (24,585 respondents, + additional 2,890 partial completions)

*For more information, visit www.catphones.com or download the Limited Warranty Statement in all languages

About Cat devices and accessories

The Cat brand stands for trust, durability, reliability and quality. The Cat DNA is found in every Cat mobile phone and accessory offered by Bullitt Mobile Ltd. and provides boundless experience with robust mobility. Our products are created for wireless communication using the latest technology to meet a variety of needs of a demanding lifestyle and won’t let you down. To find out more about what Cat phones and accessories are made of, visit www.catphones.com.

About Bullitt Group

Bullitt Group helps global brands extend their product portfolios into new categories, particularly in the connected devices market. We design, manufacture, market and sell products under license for our brand partners. Since its formation in 2009, Bullitt Group has designed, manufactured and distributed millions of mobile phones, audio products, other connected devices and related peripherals to more than 70 countries across the globe. Bullitt is the global licensee for Cat (Caterpillar Inc.) and Land Rover for mobile phones and related peripherals. Bullitt Group’s Head Office is in Reading, England with additional office locations in Taipei (Taiwan), Shenzhen (China), Charlotte (USA) and Singapore.

www.bullitt-group.com

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is an independent research and advisory firm focussing on current and future trends in technology. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world. www.ccsinsight.com

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