iPhone upgraders leave nearly $13.5B in old hardware to collect dust

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2014
The results of a survey published on Wednesday show U.S. consumers who hold on to last-generation iPhones after upgrading or moving on to another smartphone have amassed some $13.4 billion in mothballed hardware.



According to research group OnePoll's "Mobile Mountain Study," conducted for resale website SellCell.com, iPhone owners are leaving a collective pile of unused legacy hardware on the table estimated to be worth $13.4 billion on the resale market, reports MarketWatch. That number has grown from the year-ago period, which saw about $9 billion worth of iPhones stashed away.

Looking at the bigger picture, the percentage of owners who keep smartphones rather than selling them has decreased from last year, dropping to 50 percent from 55 percent one year earlier. The overall trade-in value of mothballed phones is up to $47 billion, a significant jump from $34 billion a year ago.

As for what people do with their old phones, 20 percent said they gift them to family and friends, 12 percent donate to charity and 9 percent simply throw them away. According to the poll, only 18 percent of users showed concern over security issues related to reselling or giving away handsets, down from 23 percent last year.

As to why Americans "hoard" old phones instead of selling or gifting, the survey found 40 percent keep legacy devices as spares, 36 percent "don't know what else to do with them" and 17 percent of respondents were just "too lazy."

While SellCell.com obviously has skin in the game when it comes to smartphone resales, the results from OnePoll are interesting considering that Apple instituted an in-store trade-in system last year to boost sales of new handsets.

According to SellCell.com, many consumers don't know about trade-in services and thus leave massive amounts of money sitting in sock drawers and shoeboxes across the nation.

A number of dedicated online services, like Gazelle, have popped up to take advantage of the second-hand smartphone market. Even big-box retailer Walmart and Internet sales giant Amazon are getting in on the action with sometimes generous offers on years-old equipment. These big-name companies usually take advantage of the time period surrounding new product releases to build their supplies or push promotions. AppleInsider tracks trade-in values daily in its Trade-in Cash Payout Guide:

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94

    I'd be glad to help someone with a 4S just collecting dust send me it. I prefer the 64GB Model, non-white.

  • Reply 2 of 94
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,608member

    Hmmm... I wonder how much I could get for my 3g, 3gs, & 4. I have more than one of both the 3 and 4. We gave away the 4s and one 4 to needy friends. Anybody want one?

  • Reply 3 of 94
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,675member

    That's only 1% compared to the value of all the Android phones thrown in landfills or dumpsters.

  • Reply 4 of 94
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,915member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    That's only 1% compared to the value of all the Android phones thrown in landfills or dumpsters.


     

    Surely you jest!

     

    The massive amounts of Android phones sitting in landfills aren't worth 1% of those used iPhones.

  • Reply 5 of 94
    This seems like a very high number to me. I have always gifted my used Apple equipment to friends/family. Even my very first Apple II (1998 model s/n 6357) went to a school. I still have a Sprint Treo (plugged in and still working, although I don't have a carrier contract any more) though - if anyone wants one....
  • Reply 6 of 94
    I account for $13.1B of that. :\
  • Reply 7 of 94
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,352member
    Guility as charged. I have every iPod, every iPhone and every iPad and many, many Macs in a cupboard. I am a incurable Appleholic.
  • Reply 8 of 94
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,511member
    I'm keeping my two 4Ses running iOS 6. They're going to be museum pieces someday. Classics. Right now i'm using one as a phone and both as cameras.
  • Reply 9 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

     

    I'd be glad to help someone with a 4S just collecting dust send me it. I prefer the 64GB Model, non-white.




    Precisely my model, and purchased opening day, too.  Problem is, I still love it.  :p

     

    I know, people like me are to blame for slowing the pace of new device sales.  But the form factor is perfect.

  • Reply 10 of 94
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,608member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PScooter63 View Post

     


    But the form factor is perfect.

     

    Wait until you hold the 5s in your hand. But hurry, the 6 is coming!

  • Reply 11 of 94
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     

    Wait until you hold the 5s in your hand. But hurry, the 6 is coming!


     

    I have a 5 at work, for test purposes.  Somehow, I'm just not in love with it.

  • Reply 12 of 94

    And ... 100% of them are smart, rich, highly educated, successful, loved, fulfilled, classy, cool, sociable, .... and MORE!

     

    Unlike android users, wall street morons and dumb ANALYSTS!

  • Reply 13 of 94
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,675member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

     

     

    Surely you jest!

     

    The massive amounts of Android phones sitting in landfills aren't worth 1% of those used iPhones.




    Citation please!!!!  ;)  /s

  • Reply 14 of 94
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,984member
    Surprised nobody said that they keep it as a backup in case they lose their current phone. Having to replace a phone can be quite expensive.
  • Reply 15 of 94
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PScooter63 View Post

     



    Precisely my model, and purchased opening day, too.  Problem is, I still love it.  :p

     

    I know, people like me are to blame for slowing the pace of new device sales.  But the form factor is perfect.


     

    You're not alone. I prefer the solid form factor of the 4S over the 5 series. Hopefully, Ivy gets off his asinine ultra-thin kick and puts some solidity back into the product [you'd think so with an edge-to-edge rumor].

  • Reply 16 of 94
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post



    Surprised nobody said that they keep it as a backup in case they lose their current phone. Having to replace a phone can be quite expensive.

     

    Or how about handing it down to family who being on the family plan don't need the latest. I agree on the back up. Hell, have 2 back ups from the 4 series, especially if someone works in the outdoors of any kind.

  • Reply 17 of 94
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    i think i'm putting mine to good use. my current phone is a 5s. i have a 3GS, 4, and 5. the unlocked 3GS gets loaned to friends who are traveling out of the country. so far it's been to turkey, spain, czechoslovakia, england, and canada. the unlocked 4 is used primarily when i'm traveling out of the country. i use the 5 as an IP camera when i'm away, and both the 4 and 5 are put to good use as extra cameras as i practice my multi-camera editing techniques. and the 5 is my backup, just in case ...
  • Reply 18 of 94
    Anyone who wants to send me any old apple stuff I will fill my blathtub and bathe in happiness
  • Reply 19 of 94
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     

    Hmmm... I wonder how much I could get for my 3g, 3gs, & 4. I have more than one of both the 3 and 4. We gave away the 4s and one 4 to needy friends. Anybody want one?


    I could use one 4 to finally get the last of my colleagues off Android to join the rest of us. :D He's so cheap he won't pay for an iPhone.

     

    As stated by others, I have passed my older models to the family members with "feature phones". Right now every single member of our family has at least 4 or 4S.

  • Reply 20 of 94
    I never have a problem selling my old Apple hardware. I get the price from Gazelle.com, then I offer it for sale at that price to family and friends. Always gets lapped up. If I ever can't sell something easily that way I will just go to GameStop at my local mall, they hand you cash at Gazelle's price right there on the spot.
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