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What Prompts a Device Upgrade? Gazelle Survey Tells All

TMCnet Feature

July 02, 2013

What Prompts a Device Upgrade? Gazelle Survey Tells All

By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

It's summertime—at least in the Northern Hemisphere—and, as the George Gershwin song insists, the livin' is easy. At least it is for many, not necessarily so for those who sunburn easily or get overheated. But for smartphone owners, this particular summertime is prompting some changes in the way people view those mobile devices, as well as how it's known that the time has come to find new ones, and it's all spelled out in a survey from Gazelle.

Gazelle put out a survey to over 500 past customers, and the results of that study were surprising to say the least. One of the biggest changes was in terms of taking vacations, a common practice in the summertime, in which it was discovered that 77 percent of respondents would have rather brought along a significant other on vacation, rather than a smartphone. Given that earlier this year a survey reportedly emerged claiming that people would prefer a week without sex than a week without a smartphone, this is quite a change in its own right.

Image via Shutterstock

But the Gazelle survey wasn't just about the unexpected shift in vacation buddies. No, the study also tackled topics like when it was time for an upgrade. While many mobile providers are offering phones on a 24-month contract, users are looking to upgrade at faster rates than that. That's being driven by several different factors as covered in the survey.

For instance, nearly half of respondents said that upgrades were done for the sake of access to “the latest and greatest” devices. Most do so for improvements to raw spec numbers, like total memory, better processors, and overall speed of use. 43 percent, meanwhile, favored slightly more esoteric upgrades like new motion sensor capabilities or control schemes like improved swipe detection.

The survey also discovered unsettling news for AT&T (News - Alert): while it's currently the most common carrier when it comes to respondents in the survey with 41 percent responding, nearly half of same—45 percent—would rather have Verizon (News - Alert) for a carrier due to differences in network quality favoring Verizon. Unsettling news also came for Apple: the survey showed 58 percent of users have stayed with a single platform since upgrading to a smartphone in the first place, and given Android's (News - Alert) increasing market share, this may be a sign of limited growth ahead for Apple.

The Gazelle survey even covered things like common uses, with 57 percent of respondents calling social check-ins a major source of activity on new phones, and 36 percent calling “stalk on Facebook (News - Alert)” a major use. Thirty-three percent prefer Instagram as a top use. What's more, most users don't know that there's value in old devices, with 44 percent allowing the old model to just sit in a drawer or close, unused, while 33 percent give away—which includes donations—or throw away old devices. Given that Gazelle is a site that specializes in the trade-in of old electronics, it's not a surprise to see this question.

Ultimately, the survey offered several surprising points on its own, including what may be a sudden shift in attitudes among smartphone users who'd rather have a little time with a special someone than be tethered to the smartphone, as well as some potential trouble ahead for AT&T, Apple (News - Alert), and the two-year contract. Changes will likely be slow in coming, but it's hard to ignore the word of the customer itself, especially when so clearly presented.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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