U.S. Consumer Stockpile of Unused iPhones Valued at $13.4 Billion

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Almost half of the consumers who buy a new smartphone are storing their older phone instead of recycling it in the used handset market, according to the "Mobile Mountain Study" conducted by research group OnePoll for resale site SellCell (via MarketWatch). These unused phones are worth almost $47 billion, with older iPhone models accounting for approximately $13.4 billion of these hoarded phones.

    Though many people are storing their iPhones, some owners are taking advantage of the iPhone's strong resale value by trading them in. A SellCell survey from January 2014 shows that the iPhone 4 and 4S are among the most traded-in cellphones in the US. The most lucrative Top Ten trade-in is the 16GB iPhone 5s, which sells for an average price of $325. The 5s is followed by the Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB at $213 and the iPhone 5 16GB at $211.

    Source: SellCell.com; survey conducted in January 2014
    Most people (40%) with an old phone sitting in their drawer keep the device as a spare, while others (36%) just don't know what to do with them. A small percentage (20%) give them away to friends or family or to charity (12%). A surprisingly high number of people are simply "too lazy" to recycle or trade-in their old phones (17%), while others have elected to simply throw theirs in the trash (9%).

    The recycling of phones will become increasingly important as the smartphone market reaches its saturation point in the next few years. As customers switch from feature phones to smartphones, iPhone ownership is expected to increase to 68% by 2017 with customers acquiring phones from both new and used sources.

    Article Link: U.S. Consumer Stockpile of Unused iPhones Valued at $13.4 Billion
  2. Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    I have an iPhone 4 that got replaced by a 5 in 2012.

    Keep telling myself I need to sell it used.
  3. macrumors 68040


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Having a spare phone sitting around is awesome when your main phone suffers a mishap.

    They're usually not worth very much anyway on the used market, so they're more valuable as a spare.
  4. macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2012
    Our old iPhone 3g that we just stopped using recently now acts as a glorified iPeng controller for our Logitech Receiver :) I imagine it's nearly worthless on the used market anyway.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    I'd recommend trying to sell it while it still runs the current release of iOS, I can't imagine it will last to iOS 8 (whenever that is coming).
  6. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I did the same. I sold mine to a friend for $150, which she was thrilled with. I checked the local market and they seemed to average in the $200 range, so I gave her a deal.

    The other option is to unlock it and use it as a cheap world phone for travel, but if you don't plan to do that, then it's better to sell it now while it's still worth something. That way you get some cash and someone else gets to use a phone instead of just having it rot away in your drawer. Everyone wins!
  7. macrumors 68030


    We've got two dumb phones lying around; maybe the future grandkids can donate them to the Smithsonian…..:D
  8. macrumors 68000

    Mar 18, 2009
    I like to keep a spare phone around for that reason - I think I have an iPhone 4S somewhere.

    But otherwise it's a waste not to at least sell to some recycling place like gazelle or whatever. I've purchased a new unlocked iPhone every year since the 3G, and have always sold my previous for 75-80% of the original price.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2010
    at home

    Handing them down is how we afford iDevices for the children, they get the old phones to use as an "iPod touch". After the iOS times out they become dedicated music players for the cars, treadmill, etc.
  10. macrumors 6502


    Jan 9, 2008
    Boston, MA
    I know I'm in a miniscule minority, but I still have no interest in owning a smart phone. I don't want a feature phone either - I just want a phone. I can do everything else on my iPad or laptop.
  11. macrumors 601


    Dec 8, 2011
    East Central Florida
    always keep a spare phone
    saved me headaches this week
  12. macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    I sell mine every year so as to upgrade. That's one of the big benefits of iPhones having such high resale value. For a backup I keep a near worthless samsung phone. No sense in using high value phones as a backup device to sit in a drawer.
  13. macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2011
    I have an original 8GB 2007 iPhone and a 32GB iPhone 4 while I use my 64GB iPhone 5.

    My original iPhone sits in my "hall of armor" and if needed, is still functional. My iPhone 4 is my backup phone in case my iPhone 5 is ever out of commission. The iPhone 4 is also unlocked if I ever find myself traveling out of the country and used as an iPod Touch.

    So yeah, I'll be holding onto my iPhones well after they're used.
  14. macrumors G3


    Mar 20, 2003
    San Francisco
    The only old iPhone I've kept is the original one, which I keep as a memento.


    I wonder how long you'll be able to get "just a phone" in the US. Certainly for a while longer, but the clock must be ticking on "featureless phones."
  15. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    For me it's "Smartphone or dumb phone". Feature phones always been pretty terrible. Anything more than simple calls and texting is usually implemented so half-baked that They might as well nix the clutter anyways. Also having a simple calculator doesn't mean that the calculator will be quick and easy to use, "Web Browser included" does not mean the web works further than Wikipedia, and "Plays MP3s" does not mean it will play them well or not kill the battery within an hour...

    Then again, it's been a long time since I've had one of those.
  16. macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    That is alot of phones.

    We should recycle these phones or donate to charities that could put these phones to use.
  17. macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2010
    Just sold a used 2 year old iPhone 4S 64GB for almost 500 USD (3000 NOK).
  18. ladeer, Feb 13, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014

    macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2007
  19. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    I'd imagine a large percentage of the "don't know what to do with them" are probably ones that are semi-broken (screen fairly cracked, wifi doesn't work) but still run okay. I'd imagine that the prospect of recycling them (when you paid a lot of money for them) or getting them fixed (when the cost of fixing it nears or exceeds the phone's value) make it pretty hard to justify doing either. Especially when you frequently don't have much money after bills* but are working too often to have time to do the research and sell it on eBay [for parts].

    *Yeah, yeah... probably shouldn't get a smartphone anyways, fiscal responsibility, et al.
  20. macrumors 6502


    Sep 27, 2011
    Riga, Latvia
    I always keep the most recent previous iPhone as a spare in case something happens to my main phone. I do this since the time when I lost my iPhone 4 and my only backup phone was one old Nokia dumbphone. I had sold my iPhone 3G a bit earlier (needles to say, really regretted that). Never again! :)
  21. macrumors member


    May 5, 2010
    Still have the original iPhone and use it as an iPod in my car
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2011
    Lucky Country
    Since I only buy phones with user replaceable batteries, I keep my old, unlocked, ones as spares, to use where theft may be a serious problem (and there are plenty of such).
  23. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Certainly they are becoming like throw-away devices. Last year I flew into the US with my family for a two-week vacation. Our Canadian phones would have cost us crazy roaming and long distance rates, so we popped into Walmart and each bought a $15 "burner" phone with a few prepaid minutes. We kept the calls and texts short, maybe only reloaded them once. Then when we flew back home, we recycled them, because we didn't know what else to do with them. They're not really designed to be re-used.

    $15 buys a complete Samsung phone with battery, charger, even a Bluetooth headset. Wow.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2013
    Yes please make sure you keep your old phone. This is a great Idea. New phones cost like $700 and if you drop yours, you will be sorry.

    And.... this helps the resale value of my phones so I can keep trading every 6 months:D
  25. macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2000
    I suspect a lot of the people "hoarding" old iPhones are like me. Get a new one, the previous gets handed down to oldest child who gives their's to the next oldest. Repeat.

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