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

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

Port Washington, NY, July 12, 2018 – 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.


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,” 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.”


Methodology

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.



Related Press Releases

Seven Percent Compound Annual Growth Expected for Internet-Connected TV Devices in the U.S. Through 2021, Forecasts NPD
Seven Percent Compound Annual Growth Expected for Internet-Connected TV Devices in the U.S. Through 2021, Forecasts NPD

According to NPD’s TV-Connected Device Forecast, at the end of 2017, 210 million devices were installed in U.S. consumer homes actively delivering internet connectivity to the TV screen, and by the end of 2021 there are forecast to be 275 million.

U.S. Voice-activated Speaker Sales To See 50 Percent Growth By 2019, According to NPD Forecast
U.S. Voice-activated Speaker Sales To See 50 Percent Growth By 2019, According to NPD Forecast

According to NPD’s Future of Technology report, demand for voice control in streaming speakers will grow the segment to nearly $2.7 billion by 2019.

Online Consumer Electronics Shoppers Are Buying More Frequently,  Spending Less Per Purchase, Reports NPD’s Checkout
Online Consumer Electronics Shoppers Are Buying More Frequently, Spending Less Per Purchase, Reports NPD’s Checkout

According to NPD’s Checkout, online consumer technology sales were up 16 percent in the 12 months ending May 2018 versus the year prior, as online shopping continues to increase across the consumer electronics landscape.

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

According to the latest NPD Connected Intelligence Mobile Connectivity Report, the average U.S. smartphone upgrade cycle is 32 months, up from 25 months one year prior (2H 2017 vs. 2H 2016). The report also finds that the prepaid segment continues to record the shortest upgrade cycle, due in part to affordable pricing and high churn.


Press Contact

Megan Scott
516-625-7516 
megan.scott@npd.com

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

Want more?

Complete this form to hear from NPD.


Newsletter

Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.