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Why people are buying more expensive smartphones than they have in years

The average selling price for a smartphone is now $363.

 A person looks at share prices on a smartphone John Stillwell/PA Images via Getty Images
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

The average smartphone price rose 10 percent last quarter compared to a year earlier— the fastest price increase to date. That brings the global average smartphone price to $363, according to customer checkout data from market research firm GfK.

For years, the price of smartphones has declined, as a slew of lower-priced iPhone competitors entered the market.

Recently, however, prices have begun to tick back up. Overall, smartphone prices rose 6 percent from 2016 to 2017.

That’s because as smartphones become even more essential to daily life, people are choosing to buy bigger and better ones. Large full-screen displays and dual cameras are becoming commonplace, as are their higher price tags.

Case in point: The iPhone X that came out last fall. It comes with facial recognition, a studio-quality camera and animated poop emojis. It also costs $1,000.

global average smartphone prices

This data is for full-price phones, and does not include prices for subsidized phones made cheaper by carrier contracts — a practice that has largely disappeared. The data include point-of-sale data in more than 75 markets.

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