New data from Kantar WorldPanel is giving us some insight as to how often different smartphone types upgrade their devices. According to the study, the average smartphone owner in the U.S. will upgrade after 22 months – a little less than the typical two years most contracts cover. Don’t be surprised to see the number go down in the near future though, as carriers are looking to make their customers upgrade more frequently with payment plans vs contracts.

When it comes to specific smartphone fans and their own upgrade cycles, BlackBerry users beat out everyone else by far. At an average of 32 months between each upgrade, BlackBerry users hold on to their phones twice as long as Lumia owners who upgrade every 16 months. In between these two extremes, iPhone owners change their devices every two years and change (25 months), while Samsung owners only hold on to their phones for a year and a half on average.



As we all know, BlackBerry devices are still very much used in the corporate environment. Companies tend to not upgrade their devices nearly as frequently as regular consumers, so it makes sense that BlackBerry devices outlast their competitors in a category like this. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, having users hold on to their phones longer doesn’t help move more devices off their shelves, so this might not be the ideal achievement for business growth.

Apple fans, on the other hand, have upgrade more in the past twelve months than we had seen before. Since the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, 32% of iPhone owners have bought new devices. Compare that to the same span of time in the previous year when only 22% of iPhone owners upgraded, and we see the trend is clearly going up. It’ll be interesting to see how this year’s iPhone 6s launch affects these figures going forward into 2016.


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