Aussies Love To Upgrade Their Phones

Image: iStock

Eyeing off the latest new smartphone, even though your current handset works fine? You aren't alone in Australia.

In a growing trend that flags a shift in consumption and e-waste accumulation, a recent survey reveals that 69 per cent — or more than two-thirds — of Australians upgrade their mobile phone despite already having a functioning handset.

The survey from comparison site posed a simple question to 2031 Australians: "What did you do with your last mobile phone when you got a new one?"

While 24 per cent of old phones were donated to a family member or friend, only nine per cent were cashed in online through sites such as eBay and Gumtree.

A full third of old phones are kept "for emergencies" in drawers or cupboards. With 31 million active mobile phone accounts in Australia, that means 10 million old phones are lying in draws of junk about the house instead of being put to good use.

Generation Y are much more likely (15 per cent) to sell their phone than Gen X (9 per cent) or Baby Boomers (4 per cent), hinting at a shift in phone consumption mentality.

Six per cent of phones end up in the bin as they are no longer serviceable.

A recent documentary, Death by Design, examines the human and environmental costs of creating our latest tech gadgets and disposing of our old ones.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) handsets are recycled, with the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association citing fear of sharing personal data as a main hindrance for users to do so.

A range of services in Australia offer phone recycling such as Mobile Muster and Recycling Near You.

This article originally appeared in Digital Life, The Sydney Morning Herald's home for everything technology. Follow Digital Life on Facebook and Twitter.



    69 per cent of Australians upgrade their mobile phone despite already having a functioning handset.

    I'd hardly call having a 'functioning' handset a good reason not to upgrade!

    "No I don't want to buy an Xbox One, my Megadrive is still functional"!!

    Last edited 01/02/17 2:35 pm

      But my Megadrive is still functional (and in regular use)?

        Nice work with the regular use! I picked that example because I'm fairly sure my Megadrive still works too!!

        Last edited 01/02/17 6:11 pm

      You've missed the first part of that sentence... ;-)

    A fool and his (or her) money is easily parted...

      What bone head said.

      have same phone here for over 7 years, water proof drop proof fits in a pocket fine.
      These same morons would be the one screaming out that we save the environment.

        So true about the environment part.
        As a developer, knowing the performance of the devices, a casual smartphone user wouldn't need anything above an iphone 4S, that is plenty fast enough. That's late 2011/2012 top of the line tech, if your thing is as good as that, you don't need to upgrade unless you are a power user, have a specific desire for something (like a bigger screen or better camera), or (and this is the one I hate the most) your manufacturer has forced obsoleteness into your old device. (by making it difficult for apps to support old OSs and then not releasing new OSs for old devices, or bloating the new OSs so much they don't run on old devices etc).

        I practically have people's 'old' phones thrown at me (which is great as a developer), I've never actually bought a new smart phone in my life... My latest donation was a GS5, I swear this thing is nearly as powerful as my 2013 Macbook Pro.. How someone could feel the need to spend another grand upgrading from it is beyond me, But i'm grateful :P

        You've got to hand it to the telcos for how they have successfully lulled everyone into the cycle.

        Depends on use for each person.

        I usually need the latest of close to as phone apps are usually optimized best for those.
        Sure, I'd like to be able to use my old Nokia 6120 but then i would not be able to run 30% (or use the 4G )of my business which I use my phone for - marketing.

    Still on a note 4. Had one battery do its bloating trick but had a spare and ordered a new one.
    There's not a lot that it can't do though I do wish there was a slide out keyboard battery cover attachment. Would still be on my Xperia pro with the slide out keyboard if I could still read the text.
    I guess a lot of people figure they may as well upgrade if they are on a plan.
    Phones aren't as serviceable as they used to be either.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now