An interesting investigation by Ben Bajarin of Tech.pinions on non-smartphone owners. Here’s his conclusion, drawn from this study and a separate one regarding PC’s:
"We can directly tie price paid for a PC/Smartphone/tablet to usage of the product. Simply, those who pay more for their computers use them more. For a consumer who is very price conscious like the non-smartphone owner, they have no intention on using the increased capabilities so see no need to pay for it. Similarly, those who buy lower end smartphones, PCs, and tablets are less engaged with the device and the surrounding ecosystem."
Makes perfect sense. I used to think feature phone, or “dumbphone” owners that are in a position to afford a smartphone simply didn’t believe the ways technology could improve their lives, but I completely left out the fact that people might not even have a use for the additional capabilities to begin with, the same way some people don’t need cars. (Steve Jobs’ cars and trucks analogy comes to mind.)
Plus, in defence of getting a phone to begin with, there will always be value to long-distance communication. In that sense, feature phones could be compared to bicycles - they’re way less featured than a car and can require exertion, but they’re much, much cheaper, so much that some people might see it having more value than a car as a transport device.