People are now holding on to old iPhones as long as they did pre-COVID

Posted:
in iPhone
New research data suggests that people are holding onto their iPhone for longer periods before upgrading, a shift from the trend observed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The age of retired phones is increasing once again
The age of retired phones is increasing once again


Over the years, the average age of the last phone owned by iPhone buyers has steadily increased. For example, in March 2019, 26% of iPhone buyers held onto their previous phone for three years or more.

This trend began when full-price installment purchase plans replaced two-year subsidized-price contracts between 2015 and 2017 and has continued to grow, according to the latest report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

From 2019 through the COVID-19 pandemic, the length of time that iPhone buyers kept their retired phones continued to rise. As of March 2021, 34% of iPhone buyers replaced a phone at least three years old.

However, the trend took a turn in the year ending March 2022, with only 20% of new phone buyers having a previous three-year-old or older phone. Conversely, 38% reported having a last phone that was two years old or less.

The age of previous phones
The age of previous phones


Then, by March 2023, the trend reversed again, and the age of retired phones increased. As of the year ending March 2023, 31% of buyers owned a previous phone that was three years old or older.

That age profile is nearly identical to the year ending March 2020, which marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. CIRP has an explanation of what could've happened.

During the pandemic, people were likely interested in obtaining or upgrading to the most current mobile technology since they were locked down and started working remotely. This, in combination with government financial assistance and generous trade-in initiatives, made it feasible for consumers to afford newer smartphones.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,978member
    This is an inevitable outcome of technological maturity. As the curve of revolutionary new features bends downward, replacement frequency will too. 
    grayfox691FileMakerFellerbaconstangpscooter63watto_cobrabeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 2 of 7
    kmareikmarei Posts: 193member
    i still use an iphone X, replaced the battery and works great
    i don't need 15 cameras on the back, if i was a professional photographer, i would not be using a phone to take pictures :)
    other than cameras, there isn't realy anything that makes me want to upgrade
    i setup iphones at work and i have used the 12,  13, and 14
    yeah they are a little faster, but worthy of $1000?
    heck no

    bobolicious
  • Reply 3 of 7
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,151member
    kmarei said:
    i still use an iphone X, replaced the battery and works great
    i don't need 15 cameras on the back, if i was a professional photographer, i would not be using a phone to take pictures :)
    other than cameras, there isn't realy anything that makes me want to upgrade
    i setup iphones at work and i have used the 12,  13, and 14
    yeah they are a little faster, but worthy of $1000?
    heck no

    In recent testing I got better (sharper) UWA image quality with a Zeiss Exolens on an iPhone 7 / SE than an iPhone 14 Pro and would have been happy to keep my 7 if Apple had not stopped supporting it... That would have seemed the more environmentally benign option as well...

    Given what I understand must be the challenges of making such an ultra compact UWA I ask if Apple might be better to increase the effective focal length (reduce the wide angle) if it improves the image resolution? I could see the softness even on the iPhone display so hard for me to consider it of 'pro' caliber...  Video cropping was also an issue for me...
    macplusplus
  • Reply 4 of 7
    Iwasthe1Iwasthe1 Posts: 5member
    I still use and love my iPhone XR. No see any need to upgrade and I'm a power user. My phone is doing stuff most people with the 2023 version don't even know they can do. 
  • Reply 5 of 7
    hecalderhecalder Posts: 13member
    I typical use to turn iPhones every 2 years but this time I will hold 3 years just for a little speed and a fancier camera does not justify to get rid of my 13. I will wait until they do some things more then just improving speed and camera. 
  • Reply 6 of 7
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,311member
    I usually upgrade my phones, dumb and smart every 4 years.  So I have had the iPhone 4, the iPhone 6, and my current, iPhone Xs, which I'm into my 5th year with!!!  I think I'll upgrade to an iPhone 15 this year.  Not 100% sure.  It used to be, pay off the phone in the first 2 years and then 2 years of no phone payment, then repeat!!!  

    The 4th year of the iPhone 4, Apple's first CPU, the A4.  It was getting really poky!!!!  Some days, I just wanted to throw it and break it, giving me an excuse to just buy a new iPhone.  The iPhone 6 in its 4th year was much better.  It was still a bit poky, but overall not bad.  With this Xs.  It works pretty well.  Not really slow at all.  Which is why I'm into my 5th year with it.  It still looks like new.  Could I go into a 6th year with it?  Maybe.  

    Smartphones are a mature market these days.  Unless you are really hard on your phone, they can last you a long time.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    Assuming my iPhone 11 doesn't develop a problem that can't be fixed at reasonable cost, I'll probably keep it for at least one more year, if not longer.  I did have to replace the battery, but that was within warranty.  Even if I have to do that again, it's still worth not spending a grand for a replacement.
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