The Average Upgrade Cycle of a Smartphone in the U.S. is 32 Months, According to NPD Connected Intelligence

Share Article

Prepaid smartphone users are the first to upgrade, with the shortest upgrade cycle

Source: Connected Intelligence Mobile Connectivity Report

The continuous improvement of device build quality and components, coupled with higher price tags, has motivated consumers to hold on to their smartphones for longer periods than in the past.

According to the latest Mobile Connectivity Report from NPD Connected Intelligence, the average U.S. smartphone upgrade cycle is 32 months, up from 25 months one year prior (2H 2017 vs. 2H 2016). Over the same time period, the percentage of smartphone users holding on to their smartphones for over three years has increased from 18 percent in the second half of 2016 to 22 percent in the second half of 2017.

“One factor that has impacted the upgrade cycle is that carriers have tightened upgrade policies,” said Brad Akyuz, director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence. “Many carriers require that customers fully pay-off their devices before trade-in, which has slowed down upgrade cycles for postpaid customers.”

The prepaid segment has historically recorded the shortest upgrade cycle, due in part to affordable pricing and high churn. In the second half of 2017, 21 percent of prepaid smartphone users reported upgrading their devices within a year of purchasing their phone, this compares to only 10 percent of postpaid consumers.

“The continuous improvement of device build quality and components, coupled with higher price tags, has motivated consumers to hold on to their smartphones for longer periods than in the past,” noted Akyuz. “However, with the debut of 5G networks in the coming years, OEMs and mobile operators will have the opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of 5G services and convince them to upgrade to devices boasting a 5G chipset. This 4G to 5G migration will ultimately result in the acceleration of the device upgrade cycle.”

The results of the NPD Group Connected Intelligence Mobile Connectivity Report are based on consumer panel research that reached 3,600 U.S. cellphone users, aged 18+ from diverse regions and demographical backgrounds. This survey was completed in February 2018.

About Connected Intelligence
Connected Intelligence provides competitive intelligence and insight on the rapidly evolving consumer’s connected environment. The service focuses on the three core components of the connected market: the device, the broadband access that provides the connectivity and the content that drives consumer behavior. These three pillars of the connected ecosystem are analyzed through a comprehensive review of what is available, adopted, and consumed by the customer, as well as reviewing how the market will evolve over time and what the various vendors can do to best position themselves in this evolving market. For more information:

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD is the leading global provider of market information and business solutions covering brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and emerging channels in more than 20 industries. We combine our unique data assets with analytic solutions to help our clients measure performance, predict trends, and improve results, advising them to help drive successful growth. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, consumer electronics, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, travel retail, games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Megan Scott
Visit website