Gallup: Smartphone-Upgrade Programs Haven’t Kicked In

Most consumers say they’ll replace a smartphone only when it stops working or becomes ‘totally obsolete.’
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Washington D.C. -- Most smartphone owners say they’ll replace their smartphone only when it stops working or becomes “totally obsolete,” a Gallup survey found.

In the U.S., iPhone users upgrade more frequently than users of other smartphone OSs, the survey also found.

“Mobile carriers' attempts to entice customers to upgrade to new and better models more frequently is not yet catching on with smartphone users,” Gallup contended. “A mere 2 percent say they upgrade their phone ‘when a new model is released, usually about every year.’"

A total of 54 percent, however, say they upgrade their phone "only when it stops working or becomes totally obsolete,” and 44 percent say they’ll replace a phone when their carrier allows it, or usually every two years.

In the U.S., iPhone users upgrade more frequently than Android users, the survey found.

Forty-seven percent of iPhone users say they’ll upgrade only when the phone stops working or becomes totally obsolete, whereas 58 percent of Android users said they would do so. The percentage shoots up to 76 percent for users of other smartphone OSs.

Fifty-one percent of iPhone users say they upgrade as soon as the carrier allows it, or usually every two years, but only 40 percent of Android users say so and 21 percent of other smartphone users say so.

Two percent of iPhone users and 2 percent of Android users say they upgrade when a new model is released, or about every year.

iPhone users might be more frequent upgraders because of their income, Gallup suggested. Among people in households earning $75,000 or more per year, 55 percent own an iPhone, and 40 percent own an Android phone.

“It is apparent that despite aggressive marketing and media campaigns encouraging users to upgrade their phones to the hottest model, there is some resistance to switching out phones every year or two,” Gallup said. Although mobile carriers offer programs encouraging consumers to trade up their phone more frequently, “it remains to be seen whether these methods -- or newer, more creative forms of marketing -- will have a lasting influence on the purchasing habits of smartphone users across the U.S.”

Survey results were based on a survey of 15,766 adults between April 17 and May 18. The sample was weighted to be demographically representative of the U.S. adult population.

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