Report: People Want At Least Two Years Out of their Phone

Nearly three quarters (70%) of American smartphone buyers want to keep their phones for two years or more, and one in six want to get five years of use from their devices, according to research about smartphone longevity conducted by global public opinion and data company YouGov.

The poll found no connection between device price category and the time period before the owner will move on.

For example, ultra-premium buyers who spend more than $1,000 on a phone are the most likely of all groups to want to use a device for under a year (10%). But premium buyers who spend $750 to $1,000 are less than half as likely to turn their device over so quickly (4%). 

Budget and upper mid-range buyers are the most likely to want to use their phones for more than five years. (Budget buyers spend $300 or less, while upper mid-range buyers spend $501 to $750 on their phones.)

A quarter of respondents who say that they don’t know how much they will spend on their next phone intend to use their current device for more than five years.

Smartphone Longevity

The sweet spot for owning devices is between two and three years, according to the study. That timeframe had the highest share among those who specified a price range that they envisioned for their next purchase. For instance, it was the choice of 29% of premium and 31% of ultra-premium shoppers.

Source: YouGov

Among those who want to use their smartphones for over two years, durability is an important part of the decision-making process, with 40% citing durability as a decision factor. Yet only one-fifth of those respondents say that new software updates are an important decision factor.

YouGov sees that as an opportunity.

“Brands that emphasize the role software plays in keeping phones snappy and functional over long periods of time might have a crack at gaining market share in the competitive smartphone market,” said YouGov.

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