The second quarter of the year is typically the least active for new smartphone sales and thereby for trade-in and upgrade. This year has been no exception. In Q2 2021, U.S. consumers received $571M through trade-in and upgrade programs. This was a sharp 253% increase over what was returned to consumers in Q2 2020 but was expected as there was the economic turndown during the same period in 2020 due to the pandemic. Comparing quarter over quarter, we saw a 14% decrease from Q1 to Q2, which is slightly better than the 15% we see during normal circumstances.
Apple iPhones rounded out the top 5 devices that were returned through the trade-in and upgrade programs, with an average trade-in value of $196.60. The average trade-in value for Android devices was $97.03. The top devices for Q2 were the iPhone XR, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 11, and iPhone X. The Samsung S9 was the top Android device
Trade-in Devices Continue To Get Older
We continue to see that consumers are holding on to their devices longer. The average age of a device turned in through trade-in or upgrade programs was 3.30 years, up from the 3.15 years that was reported in Q1. iPhones averaged out at 3.37 years, while Android phone users held on to their devices for an average of 3.09 years.
Carriers, retailers, OEMs and cable operators can address the increasing length of time consumers are holding on to their mobile phones by creating appealing trade-in promotions and upgrade program offers to offset the reduction in trade-in value that are customary with longer ownership times. Promotions that are tailored to the needs of consumers will improve customer satisfaction while increasing the number of new device purchases.
Apple Watches In The Secondary Market
In addition to mobile phones, Assurant also tracks trade-in for wearables. Wearable devices have a strong hold in the secondary market and the need for the used devices grows. For this quarter, we highlight the monthly average trade-in values for Apple Watch Series 1 through 6.
From April to June, we saw the average trade-in values drop each month for Apple Watch Series 1 through 4. However, for Apple Watch Series 5 and 6, consumers were able to enjoy an increase in trade-in value in May and June, especially the consumers who traded in Apple Watch Series 6.
This rise in trade-in values is an indication that there is a very strong and growing demand for the most recent versions of wearables in the secondary market.
Keeping Ahead Of The Mobile Trade-in Industry
We are very happy to report the results for this quarter and as the adoption of 5G is expected to continue, we expect trade-in and upgrade programs to continue playing a significant role..
Carriers, retailers, OEMs and cable operators have to stay abreast of the fluctuations in the market. This helps to ensure that trade-in promotions are timely and that the trends in the secondary market can be leveraged to achieve the desired business outcomes.
To learn more about the mobile trade-in trends for Q2 of 2021, download the Mobile Trade-In and Upgrade Industry Trends infographic for Q2.