Device trade-in is playing an increasing role in all smartphone upgrades — and increasing the affordability of all devices — especially in the premium category. The company said data for 2017 showed U.S. consumers owned a device for 2.59 years, or 945 days before trading it in. That’s 78 days longer than in 2016 which came in at 2.38 years or 867 days. With users in a major market holding on to a better phone for longer, new device sales will inevitably suffer.
Meanwhile, some analysts suggest that consumers are holding onto their phones longer because their new devices are dramatically dropping in price shortly after purchase. Biju Nair, CEO at HYLA Mobile thinks the smartphone market may begin to emulate that of new cars. “Despite only being available for a couple of months, the iPhone X is now achieving just $600 at trade-in — highlighting the dramatic depreciation of high-end devices,” he told CNBC via email.