Business Insider: People are taking longer to upgrade their smartphonesJune 30, 2016 | By Fluent
Publication date 6/30/2016
Apple puts out a new iPhone what feels like every six months, but consumers are no longer jumping at every new device that hits the market.
A majority of U.S. smartphone users are now waiting more than two years to upgrade their devices, according to a new Fluent survey. This is a marked increase from the average recorded between 2014 and 2015 of between 24 and 26 months, notes The Wall Street Journal.
The survey asked about the frequency of smartphone upgrades, and just 30% of respondents said they upgraded their phones every two years, compared to 42% who said they waited three or more years.
These figures stem from two major changes in the U.S. smartphone market: the transition from two-year contracts to monthly payment plans, and the lack of new and better device technology.
T-Mobile shook up the wireless carrier market when it abandoned the traditional two-year contract with its Uncarrier movement. This separated the cost of the smartphone from the cost of the monthly data plan and let customers user their own devices. Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T all followed suit as T-Mobile’s approach gained steam, so customers do not rely on their carriers to upgrade their phones at the end of a two-year cycle anymore.
Furthermore, smartphone technology is starting to grow more slowly, so many users are choosing to squeeze every last drop out of their devices before they upgrade. Overall, 44% of U.S. smartphone users upgrade when their carrier allows it, while 54% wait until their phone completely stops working, according to a Gallup poll.
The movement away from the contract model is not only changing the way carriers operate, it’s affecting the myriad of industries that rely on carriers’ services.