Survey says more than 50 million smartphone screens were damaged in the US last year alone

Survey says more than 50 million smartphone screens were damaged in the US last year alone
Companies like Motorola may occasionally make unrealistic promises about “shatterproof” smartphone displays, but the ugly truth is mobile devices in general have actually become more fragile in recent years in addition to prettier and pricier.

While “Bendgate” scandals are a thing of the past, cracking both the screen and rear cover of most high-end handsets out there right now is as simple as dropping them on the floor or pavement.

That apparently happens way more often than you imagine, at least in the US, according to some new research conducted by SquareTrade. The company, self-described as a “highly rated protection plan provider trusted by millions of customers”, found in its latest surveys that a whopping 66 percent of smartphone owners damaged their devices over the past year, with 29 percent of those incidents concerning cracked screens.

Scratched screens and nonworking batteries followed closely as the second and third most frequent types of damage, with touchscreen issues and chipped corners/sides tied at 16 percent in fourth place.


By far the most staggering stat shared by SquareTrade is the number of phone screens broken last year in the US alone, leading to a grand total of $3.4 billion in replacement costs. Believe it or not, more than 50 million screens were purportedly cracked in just 12 months. Yup, nearly two every second. 5,761 an hour. 

That’s beyond crazy, but what may not surprise you as much is that 38 percent of smartphone owners with a cracked screen never get them fixed. Most people prefer to hang on to their devices as long as they’re functional (at least in part), often upgrading to a new phone when the damage gets bad rather than paying an arm and a leg for a screen replacement.

The problem is users often have unrealistic expectations about official repair costs, while also settling for standard protection plans that don’t cover accidental damage. Cases are rare as well and sometimes ineffective, making this a complicated issue that’s unlikely to be fixed anytime soon. Of course, manufacturers lowering repair fees and improving device robustness would be a pretty good start.

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20 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 4264; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Only cracked my Samsung screen once. Fixed same day with a new phone. Moved on.

7. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Ok. USA is most loyal Apple client. In that realation, at least half of this screens are iPhone ones. 25millions by 200$ average price for replacement = 5 billion dollars for Apple.

10. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

I don’t usually put cases on my beautiful finish iphones. But there wasn’t a time that it crack. Just be responsible on how you use properly your premium devices.

17. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

You need a case on a glass backed device, period. Especially if you didn't pay the Apple insurance repair (AppleCare+) costs. Then it will cost you $400 to fix the back of an iPhone XR, $550 to fix the back of the XS, and $600 to fix the back of the XS Max. People use to talk about Apples great service. Yet at those prices, saying that Apple has great service is definitely a moot point. I think I would get a more satisfactory feeling if some people held me down and gently beat me up, and then took $100 out of my wallet.

2. JCASS889

Posts: 565; Member since: May 18, 2018

so people instead of repairing the phone would rather upgrade to save money? that makes no sense.

3. Phonehex

Posts: 767; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Because repair costs are so high most of the time. Example - My 2 year old S7 edge screen got cracked recently , samsung is asking 230 $ for the display. Why even bother repairing it.

8. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

$230 is still a lot less then $800 plus for a new phone if you are happy with the one you have.

6. BryThaPhoneGuy

Posts: 59; Member since: Nov 05, 2018

Saving money makes no sense? The fact that saving money makes no sense to you.....makes no sense.

4. j_grouchy

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 08, 2016

Christ, people...put a glass screen protector on already. Those suckers have saved my screen numerous times. I've never yet cracked my ACTUAL phone screen because of these (~knock on wood~).

9. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Yep, glass screen protector and a clear case if ypu want your phone to show. Perfect combination.

5. BryThaPhoneGuy

Posts: 59; Member since: Nov 05, 2018

Thanks to my Tech21 case, I'm not one of those 50 million.

11. Vancetastic

Posts: 1581; Member since: May 17, 2017

“Fragile” and “pretty” do not equal “premium” in my book. I wish manufacturers would get away from this trend.

12. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

A good carbon fiber back would be great and if they dont want to do removable back it could still be sealed for water resistance.

13. Whitedot

Posts: 831; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Most importantly and not mentioned that majority of those phones with shattered screen are Iphone !!!

14. cmdacos

Posts: 4264; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Strongest glass ever...

16. Whitedot

Posts: 831; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

:)))))

15. JMartin22

Posts: 2372; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

I just buy a clear case. It’s the best compromise between design, mass and protection

18. kennybenny

Posts: 218; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

Cracked my first 2 phones (Samsung S3 and Moto G 1st gen), I have not cracked a screen since 2014. On a Galaxy S8 now......

19. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Ever since phones got bigger, glass is more prone to break. And now phones with no bezels are gonna bring even more money. Again you all asked for rhese materials. Now you see why plastic phones are so much better. The Note 3 took 150lbs of pressure to permanently deform ur, while most of todays phones bend with as much as 50% less force. Like the iPhone 6 Plus. What sucks is we have no choice but to pay for the insurance because, its not a matter of if they break, its when. And this is why Apple blocks 3rd party repairs. Because Apple charges more for the repair then what it cost to even build a brand new one. And the Apple fans love it.

20. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Nice job corning... /s

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