Though countless consumers felt the economic pinch of inflation in 2022, many profited from trade-in promotions when they upgraded to a new smartphone. According to our Annual Mobile Trade-in and Upgrade Industry Trends report, last year saw a record-breaking amount of money returned to customers from mobile trade-in programs.
The amount: $3.8B.
Q4 2022, historically the peak quarter for trade-in, was also a record-breaking quarter with nearly $1.3B being returned to customers’ wallets. This was a 22% increase over Q4 2021 while 2022 saw a 25% increase over the previous year.
Top Devices Entering the Secondary Market
The 4Q 2022 report reveals that the iPhone 11 continued to be the top turned in device through trade-in and upgrade programs as it had been throughout 2022. The newest and only 5G smartphones in the top 5 turned in devices during this period were the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max which were released just over two years ago. The Samsung Galaxy S9 had been the top Android device turned in since Q3 2020, but the Google Pixel 6 took the top Android spot in the last quarter of the year.
How Long Customers Kept Their Devices
The average age of a device at trade-in or upgrade in 2022 was 3.39 years. Apple iPhones came in slightly older at 3.41 years and Android smartphones at 3.35 years.
Interestingly, there was a shift in the average age of devices being collected during the last quarter of the year. Android devices were returned before their 3rd birthday for the first time since Q4 2021 which is a change from the previous trend of a continuous rise in device age.
Online Transactions Rise Significantly
During the pandemic we saw a steep rise in online trade-in transactions which came as no surprise, but each quarter we continue to see increases over the previous quarter and the same quarter for the previous year. In Q4 of last year, there was an 8% increase over Q4 2021 and a 25% increase over Q3 2022. For the year, there was a 38% increase over 2021. Increasingly, consumers are opting for the convenience of initiating their trade-ins online. They also have the choice to complete their trade-in by mailing their device in or returning it to their provider’s store.
For more insights, download our infographics.