Best Buy says pricey smartphone sales holding strong ahead of next iPhone launch

Consumers stung by decades-high inflation are not shifting to cheaper smartphones, Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) said on Tuesday, boding well for Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) upcoming iPhones likely to be unveiled next week.

The comments from the largest U.S. consumer electronics retailer come at a time when the soaring prices of gas and groceries have prompted a cutback in non-essential spending.

Best Buy Chief Executive Officer Corie Barry said consumers were switching to cheaper alternatives in categories such as televisions, but demand for expensive smartphones was holding strong.

“There are other categories like mobile phones where it is not as much a decision between trading up or trading down. You want a certain brand and you want a certain type of phone,” Barry said.

Analysts at J.P. Morgan last week raised concerns around the enthusiasm for the new iPhones, citing consumer expectations of a price hike and limited new features.

Best Buy also said on Tuesday that cost-conscious shoppers might delay holiday season shopping to the last minute this year in search of the best deals.