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Why People Are Keeping Their Smartphones Longer

5 min read

While new smartphones are more powerful than ever before, they are also more expensive. Reports show that people are holding to their older phones for longer instead of upgrading to new ones.

Analysts suggest that the rising costs of new models are making customers pause when deciding whether to upgrade or not. New iPhones hover around $1000 to buy, whereas new BodyGuardz iPhone cases cost about $40. You don’t have to be an economist to see it’s cheaper to simply keep your old phone protected for another year rather than upgrade to a new one.

In addition to rising costs, carriers have eliminated their previous deals which offered customers a subsidized phone once they signed a two-year contract. That method was viable for a financial standpoint when phones were less expensive. Nowadays, carriers provide payment plans, where the buyer of a smartphone can pay a fee every month over a period of time (for example, two years). Some people are not very excited to pay monthly fees again for a phone after they just finished paying off the last one.

When it comes to a tech standpoint, there is no denying that the new models are more powerful. But at the same time, there hasn’t been a major innovation within the industry that would encourage people to upgrade their devices as often as they were beforehand. Upgrades to new model features are minimal, as well as specifications between generations of the same models. Meanwhile, software updates for Android and Apple managed to do a good job of enabling older phones to access the same features that a newer phone would. Simply put, a software update could give you access to pretty much the same features that a new phone has without having to buy a new device.

Chances are that if you bought a phone in the last two years it’s still in good shape. Most phones released in 2016 are still powerful enough to tackle most of the tasks performed by newer phones. Even if it’s allegedly unreplaceable, most phone batteries can be affordably swapped, further extending the lifetime of the average device. It’s ideal to make the most of your current phone before you start considering an upgrade, so saving money for a new battery can help the lifespan of your phone.

Moreover, if you’re not a fan of the new notch design that most phones (with the exception of Samsung phones) come with, then you’re probably more inclined to wait and hold on to your current smartphone for longer until something else comes along.

Affordable repair services for smartphones are also improving. Overall, consumers don’t feel like there is much of a difference between their current, older phone and a brand new one. And if their phone is still in good shape there’s really no need for an upgrade. Analysts expect this trend to keep going, at least until there would be a major breakthrough on the tech side of things. One thing that might change that trend is the introduction of more 5G devices to the market.

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