Every quarter we analyze and compile data about the mobile device trade-in market. We look at devices with the highest trade-in volume, the highest trade-in value, the money returned to U.S. consumers over the quarter, and more. While it’s typical to have a certain degree of consistency each quarter, the data continues to serve as a baseline with which to examine the impact of industry trends that come and go. Considering the recent launch of the iPhone 8, and imminent iPhone X availability as well as the recent launch of Google Pixel 2, let’s take a closer look at the Q3 2017.
Money in Customers’ Hands Has Rebounded
In our Q2 reporting, we noted that the total value of device trade-ins dropped between the first two quarters of the year. In Q3, however, trade-in and buyback programs resulted in $581 million returned to customers, compared to Q2’s $384 million. This is a remarkable 50% increase. Certainly there was a lot of buzz around the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone and that could have spurred the increase in consumer purchases and trade-ins.
Given the upcoming Apple’s iPhone X release and launch of Google Pixel earlier in Q4, it will be interesting to see how the pace of production and distribution of these devices impact Q4.
Lower Trade-In Value, More Devices?
Although consumers received more money overall in buyback and trade-in programs in Q3, the average trade-in price dropped $8.26 for Apple iPhones and $6.79 for Android smartphones. This isn’t entirely surprising though as we also watched the average age of used devices creep up.
Trade-in on newer devices like the iPhone 8 Plus are worth $446.43 on average, while the previous generation is only valued at an average $355.68 in the current market. Newer Android phones, including the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+, are sticking closely to iPhone values at $423.57 and $361.76 respectively.
It appears that consumers are beginning to settle into equipment installation plans (EIP) as they move away from the two-year contract structures that used to be the norm. While the change quarter-over-quarter is not shockingly different, the 79% vs. 76% EIP plan is trending up to show a gradual shift in consumer mindsets.
There have been talks on whether we are on the brink of a supercycle, but we will have to wait and see what happens when the iPhone X is launched later this year.
Stay On Top of Supply and Demand
The average age of traded iPhone is now 2.81 years and just slightly ahead of the 2.76 years for other smartphones. However, last year’s Q3 data shows that the average age of traded iPhones and smartphones were both 2.4 years. But that doesn’t mean that intent to buy or upgrade devices has stalled, it may just mean that consumers are waiting for what isn’t yet available.
For a complete look at the Q3 Mobile Device Trade-in Data, download our free infographic.