Office Depot reveals habits of US tech device users

Apple, Samsung and all the rest do keep consumers busy with new and desirable tech devices, but how often do Americans really get around to upgrading their devices?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Although we are bombarded with ads showing the latest and greatest device, how often do we fall for the marketing hype and upgrade our devices? It's not as often as you think according to a new survey.

Office Depot conducted a study of 1,018 Americans who owned smartphones in November 2019. It wanted to explore consumer's habits with their tech devices, like how often they upgrade their device, what factors make them upgrade and how much they're willing to spend on device repair. 

The survey showed that users reported upgrading their smartphones every 3 years while upgrading their laptops every 4.8 years. But the reasons and money spent vary widely by device and user.

The most common reasons users said that they upgraded their phones was due to their battery not holding a charge or their phone having a slow processing speed. Almost half of respondents (47%) reported a broken charging port as their main reason to upgrade.

Whilst a third of Americans upgraded items like wireless headphones (33%), smart home hubs (32%), and smartwatches (35%) annually, only 14% upgraded their smartphones and less than one in ten (8%) upgraded their laptops once per year.

Users did not immediately rush out to buy a new device, often spending cash on repairing their device.  On average, smartphone users reported being willing to spend $112 to repair their device before upgrading to a new one.

The cost of devices were a factor in how long users expected their devices to last. People who purchased more expensive laptops, tablets and smartphones reported keeping their devices for a shorter amount of time before upgrading.

However people who purchased more expensive items such as smartwatches and wireless headphones kept these longer before upgrading.

Almost three in ten (28%) reported that they had enrolled in a smartphone upgrade plan, and of those, one third (34%) were enrolled with Apple's iPhone upgrade  plan and 31% enrolled in Samsung's upgrade plan. 

Apple users are most likely to be enrolled in a smartphone upgrade plan, spending $281/year on smartphone use compared to $196/year for Android users.

Based on average cost and average years of use, millennials pay the most yearly for their smartphone at $238 per year, while baby boomers pay the least at $152 yearly. In contrast, the average cost of a smart home hub is $34 per year.

Most respondents reported their current smartphones were in good or excellent condition, even when old. Only 5% of four year old smartphone owners said they were in poor condition.

Office Depot reveals usage habits of US tech device users zdnet
Office Depot

Americans will only upgrade when a new gadget's advantages are too great to ignore.They are not swayed by the latest bells and whistles on a phone.

If they want their devices to last, they will buy good quality and will not be distracted by the latest marketing hype – regardless of what the manufacturer says.

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