Consumers Waiting Longer for Phone Upgrades
Yet another casualty of the recession has been identified: your smartphone. Or rather, the fact that you can't afford to upgrade it.
J.D. Power and Associates released the results of a survey that shows Americans are holding on to their mobile phones longer than ever before. The survey involved 11,803 mobile phone users and 6,821 smartphone users, and the results indicate that it doesn't matter what kind of phone people have; they're putting off upgrading.
The latest numbers are showing network subscribers are keeping their phones for an average of 20.5 months, 17 percent longer than they did last year. And the reason's behind it, according to J.D. Power and Associates, is as obvious as you think:
"One possible reason for the significant increase in the length of mobile phone ownership is that more customers are delaying an upgrade purchase due to the general economic downturn, in which the expense of purchasing a new device could outweigh the added benefit of owning it. Today, consumers are really watching their wallets, and any added discretionary expenses are being considered more thoughtfully than in the past," said Kirk Parsons, J.D. Power and Associates senior director of wireless services, said in a statement.
Another possible explanation is still based on the customer's wallet. Monthly bills continue to increase, meaning there is less money for a new phone. In 2007, the average monthly cell phone bill was $69 per month. In 2010, when more people than ever are adding extra features such as texting and data plans , the average monthly price has risen to $78.
It's likely that more people are trying to wait out their 2-year contract because most wireless networks offer a large discount on new phones if customers complete their contract and sign up for a new one. In that context, it seems likely that the average number of months might keep creeping towards 24 until the economic times turn around.