How often do we change mobile phones? - The Happy Android

My dear phone is asking me early retirement. Not that it has stopped working, and I have not damaged it to an irretrievable point either, but it seems that the time has come for him to ascend to Valhalla. The occasional strong blow to the case, the broken headphone jack, the bluetooth working that way ... yes, we can say that it has suffered.

The point is that it was barely a year since I released it, which has made me remember that drawer where I keep my old mobiles, and it turns out that the battery is starting to get quite large. How many smartphones have I owned in the last few years? The calculation is not easy, but we could accept "a good handful" as a more than valid answer.

How often do we change mobile phones?

This has led me to wonder if it is true that we are changing smartphones faster and faster. The big brands launch a new top of the range practically every year or every 2 at most, and it seems that every time we renew terminal at higher speed.

That's right? Do we change our mobile phone or our shirt or is it all an illusion promoted by a market determined that we acquire a new phone every so often and thus be able to keep the machinery of capitalism well oiled?

Data, data, give me data

In these cases it is best to pull data and verifiable information to be able to give a reasoned answer. As incredible as it may seem, and contrary to everything that advertising and large manufacturers want us to believe, the truth is that at a general level users do not change terminals that often. Most of the time, we wait for the phone to stop working to get a new one.

That is what emerges from the data collected by the DeviceAtlas company, very much in tune with the reports made by Gallup, and where we see that Older smartphones are more current than ever.

In the following graph published by Forbes and elaborated from the report developed by Gallup in 2015, we can see how often do US users change mobile phones:

In the case of Android, only 2% renew their terminal each year, while 40% wait for their telephone company to offer them a renewal offer, normally every 2 years. The remaining 58% simply wait for the mobile to stop working or become obsolete.

In the case of Apple, although its users are more likely to change mobile phones at a higher speed, it provides very similar data.

Age of terminals browsing the Internet

But these data are only from the US and many may think that in other countries things could change or not adjust too much to the customs of the American way of life. In the following panel prepared by DeviceAtlas We can see the age of the terminals that surfed the Internet in 2016, broken down by country:

As we can appreciate, users using newly published mobiles - 1 year or less - is minimal (Watch out for Japan, which does not even reach 5% in this regard). A percentage very similar to the use of terminals 4 and 5 years ago.

Secondly, the great bulk of the smartphones used are 2 or 3 years old, and they are the ones who dominate the web traffic on the Internet with an iron fist.

In Spain, in 2016, only 12% of the terminals were from 2015 (one year old), another 12% were terminals from 2011 and 2012 (4 and 5 years old) and 74% were 2 and 3 cell phones years of antiguaty.

Conclusions: can a mobile with 3 years of life be considered obsolete?

In view of the data, and interpreting the information from both Gallup and DeviceAtlas, we can come to understand that:

  • More or less half of mobile phone users change terminals when it is obsolete or stops working.
  • Only 10-15% of users use terminals older than 4 years.

From here, what I interpret is that a large part of the people who change the terminal because it is broken / obsolete do so in no more than 2 or 3 years. This leads us to think that either mobile phones stop working properly in this short time, or we have very thin skin and we consider that a cell phone a couple of years old is already obsolete.

And what do you think? Do you think that we are changing mobile phones faster and faster or is it all an illusion generated by the growing proliferation of new phone models and manufacturers that flood stores year after year?

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