Seven in ten Americans want to use their phones for at least two years
March 29th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Seven in ten Americans want to use their phones for at least two years

In the past two years or so, major Android smartphone manufacturers have pivoted towards offering devices with improved longevity. From Samsung to Google Pixel, Android OEMs are now implementing and marketing an increase in the number of years of software updates for their flagship devices. Apple has already been a leader in this regard. But for just how long do consumers want to use each device?

A new YouGov Surveys poll reveals that seven in ten American smartphone buyers want to use their phones for at least two years. About one in six consumers want to eke out more than five years of usage from a single device.

Analyzing the data by the price category of devices that Americans intend to purchase reveals some curious findings, with no linear correlations between the price band and duration of device usage. 

For example, ultra-premium buyers are the most likely of all groups to want to use a device for under a year (10%). But it is difficult to draw the conclusion that the more expensive a device the shorter the duration of phone usage when you consider that premium (as opposed to ultra-premium) smartphone buyers are less than half as likely to turn their device over as quickly (4%). Meanwhile, budget (6%) and mid-range (6%) smartphone buyers outscore the share of upper mid-range buyers (3%) who are inclined to switch phones for under a year.

Among those who specified any amount they will spend on their next smartphone purchase, budget and upper mid-range phone buyers are among the most likely to want to use their device for more than five years (18%). A quarter of those who said they “don’t know” what they will spend on their next device will aim squeeze over five years from their smartphone (25%).

While only a tenth of both premium and ultra-premium buyers want to use their phones for more than five years (9%), the former are markedly more inclined to want to use one for between four to five years (16% vs 11%).

Across price bands, the sweet spot for phone usage is between two to three years. This duration won the highest share of votes among all consumers who specified a price range they would spend on their next device. Three in ten premium (29%) and ultra-premium (31%) buyers want to use their smartphones for this length of time. Even among those who said they don’t know what they will spend on their next phone, 17% said they would ideally use their smartphone for two to three years.

An opportunity for marketers

Even though seven in ten Americans want to use their smartphones for over two years, only a fifth of them consider the number of years of software updates available an important factor when buying a new device (19%). On the other hand, two-fifths of them (40%) rate “durability” as an key aspect to in the list of smartphone features they consider important.

This could mean that a large share of consumers still only think about the physical durability of their device when purchasing a new device. Brands that emphasize the role software plays in keeping phones snappy and functional over long periods of time might have a crack at gaining market share in the competitive smartphone market.

Explore our living data – for free

Discover more telco content here

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today.


YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in the US with an overall sample size of 2,238 adults. All surveys were conducted online in December 2022. Data for US uses a nationally representative sample. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.