Consumers put off smartphone upgrades because of 5G

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More than half (51 percent) of global consumers have been waiting for 5G networks and smartphones to become available before upgrading their devices. This stretches to more than 70 percent of people in India and the Philippines.

A survey of over 5,000 people worldwide by Blancco Technology Group finds 45 percent of US consumers have held onto their current device for longer than usual in anticipation of 5G availability, while 61 percent intend to upgrade to a 5G device with 42 percent doing so in the next three to six months.

The study also finds that 68 percent of those surveyed would be willing to trade-in their used device when upgrading to 5G. This has significant implications for the used device market as based on this number and looking at the total number of global smartphone users today, there could be as many as 810 million used devices collected at the point of 5G upgrade this year.

This will represent almost four times the number of used devices shipped for re-sale in 2019 (206.7 million according to IDC).

"The global momentum being built by the secondary device market shows no signs of slowing down," says Russ Ernst, executive vice president, products and technology at Blancco. "The widespread global availability of 5G in 2020 is going to significantly increase the number of used devices coming back to operators and OEMs through buy-back and trade-in programs. Secondary market stakeholders must be ready to deliver an excellent customer experience, and that means securely and efficiently processing devices through various customer touchpoints and processes -- from the retail store and back through to the reverse supply chain."

Operators and OEMs will need to prepare for a huge additional influx of devices from buy-back programs. This will require careful planning and partner selection, particularly when evaluating these devices in preparation for resale.

The full report is available from the Blancco site.

Image credit: FrankHH / Shutterstock

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