The average adult will own 19 phones over their lifetime – during which they’ll misplace them 50 times.
A poll of 2,000 mobile phone owners found the typical person will get a new handset every three years and four months – equating to 19 devices over the typical UK adult lifespan of 63 years.
The average smartphone user also has two mobiles tucked away in drawers, although 13% have twice as many – owning four or more.
It also emerged only 29% have recycled their mobile phone before swapping in for a new model – with two in five (41%) confessing they don’t know what to do with old devices.
Lars Silberbauer, CMO at HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, which commissioned the research to celebrate the launch of mobile phone subscription service, “Circular”, said: “Smartphones make up a significant contribution to global e-waste – and we want to change that.
“It is important devices have multiple lives, and by ensuring they are recycled at the end of their lifecycle, we can help keep devices out of landfill.”
The study also found almost half of Brits (48%) will hang onto old devices “in case of emergencies”, while a third (34%) will hand them onto family and friends.
And despite being able to pocket some cash from doing so, only a quarter (27%) have traded in or part exchanged a used handset.
It emerged two-thirds of respondents (67%) have replaced a mobile phone that’s still in good working order, with 44% wanting the latest software and features on their smart device.
A further 39% have replaced a working mobile as its battery life was starting to dwindle, and 26% have simply taken advantage of a free upgrade on their contract.
And despite 46% agreeing it’s easy to recycle an old mobile phone, almost half (47%) don’t actually know how to go about doing so.
Only 28% of the mobile phone users polled have taken the sustainable route of purchasing a second-hand smartphone or tablet.
This is despite one in three (32%) saying they’d be more likely to buy a pre-owned device if they knew it was kinder to the planet than buying a brand-new model.
The top reasons for buying second-hand include trying to make more sustainable purchasing choices (70%), believing buying brand new can be a waste of money (48%), and agreeing a second-hand mobile can work just as well as a new one (52%).
However, of the fifth (19%) of respondents that would be less likely to invest their cash in a second-hand device, 61% said it’s because they don’t think the hardware would work as well.
The research, conducted via OnePoll, also found a third believe the individual actions they take, such as recycling their e-waste, don’t have an impact on the environment and sustainability.
Lars Silberbauer added: “We want to reward those that share the same values as us, and actively incentivise users to keep phones in pockets for longer and work towards extending the overall lifecycle of devices.”
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