Data shows that there are more than 10 million people in China who buy more than 12 phone cases every year. What can we learn as phone case companies or plastic rapid prototyping service providers worldwide?

According to data released by the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology, domestic cell phone shipments were 14.864 million units in February this year, down 31.7% year-on-year. Not only are there fewer shipments, but there are also fewer new models listed than in the same period last year. 

According to the latest data, the cycle that Chinese users change their cell phones has been extended to 28 months, and that of global users is longer, which is more than 31 months. Many people born in the '95s state that they can use one cell phone for four years. 

Let us see what knowledge phone case businesses can learn.

Interestingly, although young people do not change their phones, they are starting to change their phone cases more frequently. It is said that phone cases have become the third most important accessory for girls outside of lipstick and necklaces. And they need to choose different phone cases according to different outfits and moods before going out every day. A figure indicates that more than 10 million people buy more than 12 phone cases every year. Such an insignificant small business as cell phone cases has given birth to a hundred billion yuan market.

Moreover, the phone case is not a 20 yuan of cheap goods as the impression we had before. There has been a silent product upgrade in the whole phone case industry. Commonly, a phone case can cost a couple of hundred yuan. And some expensive ones can be sold for four or five hundred yuan, but are also very sought-after. So, how does the phone case self-upgrade?

The first kind is the hard-core technology style. For example, the brand in Shenzhen Jame, which started by making Huawei phone cases, specializes in drop-proof and waterproof phone cases. It is now a listed company. PITAKA uses aramid fibers originally used in the production of aerospace rockets and military products and makes phone cases that are lightweight and can withstand high temperatures. Although your phone may not experience that extreme environment, these technologies will make you feel cool.

The second kind is personalized fashion style. Take the Hong Kong brand CASETiFY as an example. It takes a phone case as a fashion product and recruits designers from all over the world to design and follow the fashion trend. In addition, making co-branded models is also a common means of CASETiFY. They not only do co-branding with cartoon IP but also with famous museums and works of notable artists such as the Louvre in France and Metropolis in New York. It is very much to the appetite of young people who love culture and arts.

In addition, LV, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, and other luxury brands have launched their cell phone cases. They believe that the phone case can also become an entry-level luxury item, a brick in the door to the young market. 

The third kind is the low-key practical style. For example, in the phone case brand Holdit from Sweden, the appearance is low-key with various small details of thoughtfulness. For example, the material used is a specific silicone. Even if there is an oily pen scratch on the shell, it is easy to wipe off. They deliberately designed the location of the camera to be 1mm higher to protect the camera. It also supports wireless charging, so you do not have to take off the case, and you can put the phone on the wireless charger to charge.

Then why so many young people are so keen on buying phone cases? Perhaps, it is not to meet any external needs, but our inner confirmation of our self-image.

As the demand for phone cases is rising in China, companies in other countries can think of entering the Chinese market.

As a service provider of prototyping, let’s talk about what hints we get.

Coincidentally, there was a new project of plastic rapid prototyping for a newly designed phone case. It seemed to be designed for the latest iPhone 13. Usually, there are three prototyping ways, namely, CNC machining, vacuum casting, and 3D printing. The materials, in most cases, are plastic and soft rubber.

1. Transparent plastic phone case rapid prototyping

For transparent plastic phone cases, the materials of rapid prototyping are PC and PMMA. They can be manufactured by CNC machining and vacuum casting. The specific machining methods depend on the design details and quantity. If the quantity is less than five pieces, CNC machining is preferred. The best material is PMMA because there are relatively obvious tool marks on the surface of CNC-machined PC parts. If the amount is a bit larger, vacuum casting is more cost-effective. The material is PMMA-like or PC-like PU. 

The 3D printing service for rapid prototyping is also a choice but less recommended. It takes more processes, such as polishing and UV coating, to make the transparent photosensitive resin parts via 3D printing look like PC or PMMA. 

There is normally no surface finishing for transparent phone case prototypes. Sometimes, we will have the logo laser carved on the surface if needed.

2. Non-transparent plastic phone case rapid prototyping

For non-transparent plastic phone case rapid prototyping, there is a wider material choice such as ABS, PA, PP, etc. After a series of surface treatments like painting and silk screening, the prototypes can help test if the appearance is as designed and if the structure is feasible. 

The services of prototyping available are also CNC machining, vacuum casting, and 3D printing. 

3. Soft rubber phone case rapid prototyping

Soft rubber phone case prototypes can be made by vacuum casting and 3D printing. Different colors are also available.

4. Phone case rapid prototyping in other materials

Of course, the services of prototyping to make phone cases in other materials are also available. For example, aluminum phone case prototypes via CNC machining and even gold and silver prototypes by 3D printing. With the development of 3D printing, there will be more and more material options. 3D printing is also the best solution to print those artificial-style phone cases.

Being a service provider for prototyping, X Rapid Technologies will keep focusing on the news of the industries we serve. We always welcome further discussion of any plastic and metal rapid prototyping projects. Follow us and stay in the loop!