Americans replace their cell phones every 2 years, Finns – every six, a study claims

Americans replace their cell phones every 2 years, Finns – every six, a study claims
How often do you replace your cell phone? Most of you will say that as long as their 2-year contract ends, they ditch their old handset for a brand new state-of-the-art phone, but you probably didn't know that this habit has helped rank Americans as the people who change their phones the most often in the world, according to latest data from Recon Analytics.

It shows that Americans change their cell phones every 21.7 months, while Finns in contrast have one of the oldest devices in their pockets and are changing phones every 74.5 months. The UK and Korea also treat cell phones like disposables with a 22.4-month and a 26.9-month handset replacement cycle, respectively. 

The countries where consumers used their cell phones the longest were Brazil and India, where people reportedly change phones every 80.8 months and 93.6 months. That translates into a 7.8-year replacement cycle for phones in India, which has the lowest standard of life among the 14 compared nations. The analysts couldn't prove a direct connection between the low number of pre-paid subscribers in a country, and the slow replacement cycle, but nevertheless countries where 2-year plans were prevalent scored the shortest in changing devices.

Interestingly, though, stateside people didn't completely fit into the two-year change a phone concept as on average they replaced phones three months prior the end of the contract, ensuing an early termination fee. This statistics spurs thoughts about just how much changing our cell phones has affected the growth of the industry. Just four years ago when the original iPhone launched, touchscreen devices were practically unknown, while now we're speaking about 4G and dual-core phones. How often do you find yourself changing phones? Feel free to chime in and leave a comments below!

source: Recon Analytics (PDF) via MobileBulgaria



1. ACJ unregistered

well actually, Verizon Wireless allows customers to upgrade after 20 months, even while their still under contract for four more months. I believe the other carriers do it this way as well. That would make the average more logical.

10. G-Reg unregistered

Honestly??!! "phone" arena doesnt even have writers that know how long a contract lasts for cell companys. And thank god you (mr. writer) go off of other articles that site correct information. I knew they were looking for writers but i didnt know the picked up a few chimps from the zoo and sat them infront of keyboards.

2. sasori unregistered

why Philippines is not included? Filipinos change their fone everytime a new phone arrives especially Nokia lovers who has new model every month.

5. Laurynas unregistered

"...Nokia lovers who has new model every month." LOL! Nokia doesn't release the new model of phone every month!

23. hepresearch unregistered

Nokia has been releasing less new models of phones than ever before in recent memory. It is a shame.

22. hepresearch unregistered

Now that you have mentioned Nokia, it is interesting that the Finns have an average of 74.5 months between replacements... that's especially funny as Nokia has lately been accused, by some individuals here, of having spent the last decade making nothing but garbage. I do agree that quality has clearly declined at Nokia in the last couple of years, and I'm sure plenty of people there buy products from other OEM's, but some of the cheapest Nokia handsets I've ever owned have outlasted any other phone from any other OEM that I've ever sampled. Now, yes, it does also mean that there are apparently a decent amount of Finns running around with ancient handsets from, say, 2005 and prior (perhaps like the Nokia 9300, one of which I owned for years myself and then gave to my Mom, who now uses it even six years after I bought it). Here in the US, we, as consumers, definitely get pressured into early adoption of new products and technologies; and we allow ourselves to indulge in it, as apparently some of us want to keep up appearances, and have money burning a hole in our wallets...

3. Ian unregistered

Im spanish, but in Norway where i have family, absolutely it is every 12 months = when a new iPhone come out. By the way with a income (PPP$) of 65.000, i would do the same xDD

4. cellguy unregistered

"Interestingly, though, stateside people didn't completely fit into the two-year change a phone concept as on average they replaced phones three months prior the end of the contract, ensuing an early termination fee." Would be much appreciated if you stuck to the facts, instead of making a poorly educated guess as to how termination fees work. Most carriers allow upgrading before the end of the contract. This is anywhere from 18 to 20 months with most US carriers. Verizon, 20 months, AT&T, 18 months, US Cellular, 18 months.

6. coasterfanryan

Posts: 24; Member since: Jul 05, 2008

Honestly, about every 8 months, because I get bored with my phone. I usually head to craigslist and find a phone to trade or at a very cheap price. No need to break my contract!

7. WirelessCon

Posts: 311; Member since: May 11, 2010

Finns are frugal.

8. henk-jan unregistered

Dutch people replace their cellphone faster:p

9. Gadget Lover unregistered

Every week or two! Currently holding iPhone 4, Samsung Deoid Charge, Galaxy s2 and motorola atrix :)


Posts: 701; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

i think ive had like 6 different phones in the last 10 months.. dang we do change phone alot here in the US

12. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I change my phone once a year. I work very hard & to me it's like a personal gift or shall I say reward for my hard work. I support myself & my family, they are fine with it. Plus I usually just save my money from my tax return, that way I have some money for the latest & greatest. Since every year I get a new phone I give my wife the old phone if she likes it, & when her 2 years are up she can get whatever phone she likes! I have a good little system going! lol

13. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

i think i change phones every 6 months. xD

14. fred unregistered

the search does not include all countries. some are change phones much faster. for instance turkish people switch to a new phone every 13 months!

15. Jeromeo

Posts: 135; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Until the iPhone in 2007, touch screens were unknown?! I had a SonyEricsson P800 touch screen smartphone in 2002...

19. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

@Jeromeo -- you are mistaken. Palm released its first smartphone called the Palm Treo 180 in 2002. That is to say touchscreens exited since 2002. The screen was a "Monochrome resistive touchscreen, 16 shades" with 160x160 pixels (source: It was a 2G smartphone along with qwerty keyboard.

16. thecellx unregistered

I tried to change my cell every year. Im running on Captivate now... and looking for maybe a N9.

17. V unregistered

How is it possible in India in 2007 to be 322 months?! This means almost 27 years... It's kind of silly. I have SonyEricsson P910 since 2006 (before iPhone in 2007 :P) and it's still running. I plan to change it in winter, so you can count almost 6 years on me, in line with the finns :P

18. spookytj unregistered

If i had to guess, i think they were including every single person in india, so its skews the number much higher

20. xmguy101 unregistered

I used to change phones more than I change socks. But now it's 2 yrs as my contract has no more annual upgrades. I have 2 smartphones anyway. Droid X and Samsung Continuum.

21. farmerlee unregistered

Australian mobile user here. For the last 2-3 of years i've had a very bad habit of changing my phone everytime i got bored with my current one. From the beginning of 2009 till now i've owned the Nokia N86 8MP, Sony Ericsson C905, Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro, Blackberry Pearl 3G, Nokia C5, HTC Wildfire, Nokia N8, Motorola Defy and now i currently have a Samsung Focus. Definitely a nasty addiction lol..

25. hepresearch unregistered

Yeah, I got into that sort of thing myself for a few years. I still keep up with the latest news, technology advances, patent litigations, and such; although I find the mobile industry to be very interesting and, at times, entertaining, it is just a hobby that I keep an eye on these days. I sold my leftover smartphones in February this year, and then went prepaid for a little while before just giving up the mobile phone altogether. I have been mobile-phone-free since May... I do miss having a mobile phone (and the conveniences that come with it), but it is sort of liberating in a way, too. I am fairly sure that I will soon need to get something to communicate on the move with, but I am resisting that idea for now. I plan to not need to replace another mobile phone for quite a few years. No more of the "nasty addiction" for me, either!

24. Tmachaveli

Posts: 425; Member since: Apr 01, 2011

. Just four years ago when the original iPhone launched, touchscreen devices were practically unknown, ..P.A. you guys need to get ya'll s*it 2gether i was using touch screens way before the iphone came out u forgot about windows mobile..u guyz sounding like applefanboys

26. ken unregistered

These Stats can't be real, if u replace phone at that rate ( 2yrs in us) , how big names like Apples, Samsung, HTC etc making profit ? At peak, i replace (or to be precise, still keeping old ones) phone every 2 or 3 months, iam still keeping two nokias, Moto, Samsung and Lg now.

27. jthiagesan

Posts: 104; Member since: Apr 20, 2011

i change my phone once in 4 years or until it scolds me to change :)

28. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I replace my phone once a year.

29. sangamkr

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 23, 2015

To me changing the mobile is fancy as long as it serves the requirements. There will not be great differences even from model to model. Even models from apple from iPhone 6, iPhone 6s does not have great feature differences. Even the latest models and yet to release models.If there is a drastic difference in the new model and if one requires it, I do not say no.

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