Latest and greatest models have no appeal for 30% of cell phone users

The lure of owning the latest phone is wearing off for many buyers who just want a phone that works well. This could be an issue for the upcoming iPhone 11.

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The sky is not the limit for what people are willing to pay for a new phone, and that means the latest devices from Samsung and Apple might not be as popular as they once were. 

Particularly Apple. A new phone upgrade survey suggests that iPhone owners may not be as loyal to their devices as Android users. Price will certainly be a decision factor for anyone looking to buy the new Samsung Galaxy Fold or the new iPhones that Apple will reveal on Tuesday

Ting Mobile asked 3,640 people about how long they keep their phones and what factors influence their buying decisions when it's time to buy a new one. Ting offers prepaid cell service through its virtual network. About 3,100 of the survey respondents were Ting users, so results reflect the priorities of a segment of buyers that the big carriers often ignore. About a third of all Americans use prepaid cell phones
Price was the top consideration overall for survey respondents at 35% along with operating system (30%) and specs (14%).  Price  falls off the priority list for 18- to 24-year-olds. Their top criteria are OS, specs and the phone's camera. Fifty-five to 64-year olds also care about OS but price is their #2 issue.  Men cared more about specs and storage space while women were more interested in OS and the phone's camera when making a buying decision.

Among these survey respondents, 94% of Android users said their last phone was also an Android. Among iPhone owners, 78% stuck with Apple during their latest upgrade.

The survey also found that:

  • 82% of people bought their phone outright
  • 55% of people expect to keep their current phone for three to five years 
  • 5% or less cared about the phone screen, battery, and headphone jack 

This set of cell phone users are both frugal and handy: 50% of people whose cell phone was broken tried to repair it before buying a new one.

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Source: Ting Mobile phone upgrade survey

By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...