Fix up that old jalopy or add some new features instead of going to the considerable expense of buying a new car.
That is the same philosophy many folks are taking toward their cellphones today, according to industry analysts.
The average smartphone is typically more than two years old (with many being even older) and that is plenty good enough for some users, as long as they upgrade software features from time to time.
“We all know people still carrying around a 4- or 5-year-old smartphone and see no reason to upgrade,” wrote Jan Dawson, founder and chief analyst of Jackdaw Research.
Instead of buying a new phone every two years, said Chetan Sharma, CEO of Chetan Sharma Consulting, cellphone users are improving the phone they have with software upgrades. This avoids the bigger hardware costs of new models.
Those users who previously automatically bought new phones every two years “are starting to change their behavior,” Dawson added.
“Consumers are paying full price for new cellphones, so they are treating cellphones like computer purchases and keeping them longer,” he said. Software upgrades are keeping many older phones current, Sharma added.
The exception to this trend, Sharma said, is when a big provider comes out with a dynamic new product, such as the Apple iPhone X. He said that product could get some consumers back on the two-year cycle.
Besides offering unique new hardware, another cellphone industry observer said, Apple and other big cellphone providers have noticed the longer cycle. However, he said they are developing strategies to cope with a new, more challenging world of cellphone sales.
John Oldshue, editor of SaveOnPhone.com, noted that Apple and others are troubled by the dinosaur cellphone trend. So they are attacking the problem.