US Consumers Sit On Over $33.8 Billion in Unused Cell Phones

Share Article Discovers Mobile Gold Mine in “2013 Mobile Mountain Study”, the leading cell and smartphone recycling price comparison site in the US, today released results from its new “2013 Mobile Mountain Study” which found that over half (53.6 percent) of consumers say they have two or more unused cell phones in their household. Based on the survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of, the number of mobile phone owners in the US and the average cell phone sold on ($91), it is now estimated that Americans currently sit on $33.85 billion dollars’ worth of unused or old cell or phones in their households. By comparison, the estimated amount of money in old devices across the country is equal or greater than the estimated value of the entire mobile application industry ($30 billion ), American roofing industry ($30 billion ) or American crafting industry (nearly $30 billion ).

The survey also found:

  • Consumers have an average of 1.88 old or unused cell phones in their household;
  • Almost one in five (19.5 percent) are missing out on the opportunity to cash in because they are ‘too lazy’ to get rid of old devices, and more than one in five (22.8 percent) are worried about jeopardizing their personal data by throwing away or recycling their unused cell phone;
  • Men (25.6 percent) are about twice as likely as women (13.5) to say they are too lazy to get rid of an old or unused cell phone;
  • Over half of all consumers (54.9 percent) stash their old phones at home in a box while only 20 percent sell or recycle their phones for cash.

Colin White, managing director for commented, “Many Americans are looking for ways to earn some extra cash, especially in a sluggish economy and following the expensive holiday season. So, it is very surprising that consumers are literally sitting on billions of potential dollars in their unused smartphones and feature phones, often stashed away in boxes at home. We estimate that each American with two unused devices has, on average, just under two hundred potential dollars. For consumers worried about the time required to sell their phones, by using an offer comparison tool cell phone owners can quickly get multiple offers and cash in, meaning the amount of legwork needed to sell back and recycle their device is minimized.”

According to, the average cell phone now gets $91 when recycled online, meaning that, according to the survey, the average consumer has roughly $171 in old devices in their home.

Additionally, several popular devices average offers on far higher than $91. According to the latest data from January trade-ins via, the iPhone 4, one of the most recycled cell phones on, gets up to $175 and two of the cell phones with the highest value, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 4S are valued up to $290 and $283, respectively.

Top 10 Most Recycled Cell Phones in the US in January 2013

1. Apple iPhone 3G 8GB - recycle value up to $47
2. Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB - recycle value up to $83
3. Apple iPhone 4 16GB - recycle value up to $175
4. Apple iPhone 4 16GB (AT&T) - recycle value up to $178
5. HTC EVO 4G - recycle value up to $42
6. Apple iPhone 3GS 8GB - recycle value up to$72
7. Motorola DROID X - recycle value up to$35
8. RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - recycle value up to$97
9. RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - recycle value up to    $72.70
10. HTC INSPIRE 4G - recycle value up to$70

Table 2 – Top 10 Most Valuable Cell Phones in the US in January 2013

1. Apple    iPhone 5 64GB - recycle value up to $600
2. Apple    iPhone 5 32GB - recycle value up to    $550
3. Apple    iPhone 5 16GB - recycle value up to    $500
4. Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-i535 - recycle value up to $290
5. Samsung Galaxy S3 32GB GT-i9300 - recycle value up to $290
6. Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB GT-i9300 - recycle value up to $290
7. Samsung Galaxy S3 SGH-I747 - recycle value up to $290
8. Apple    iPhone 4S 64GB - recycle value up to $284
9. Apple    iPhone 4S 32GB - recycle value up to $283
10. Apple    iPhone 4S 16GB - recycle value up to $283

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Dan Tudesco

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