British high streets might have felt the squeeze over the Christmas trading period, but consumer were still willing to splash out on smartphones, according to Carphone Warehouse.
Like-for-like sales at the retail giant rose for the sixth quarter in a row despite what Carphone described as a “subdued” market.
UK sales were up 5 per cent, which chief executive Andrew Harrison claimed was ahead of the wider market.
Customers are taking time to “transition” to 4G but it brings higher revenue because customers pay more for the service, which offers mobile internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G.
The strength of the contract market offset a slump in pre-pay, with those revenues falling by a “double-digit” percentage.
The UK pre-pay market crashed between 25 per cent and 30 per cent, according to Carphone, as most British mobile users are moving to a contract — known as post-pay — in a bid for more cost-efficient calls-and-data bundles.
Harrison said Carphone has embraced “multi-channel” as its websites enjoyed record visitor numbers but the 794-strong chain of UK stores remained crucial in driving sales and brand awareness.
“Though the majority of mobile shoppers conduct their research online, retail channels remain the key part of the mobile phone purchase journey,” Harrison said.
Carphone’s French operation, Virgin Mobile France, was weak with revenue down 15.6 per cent.