What do Australians do with old smartphones?

Peter Terlato 31 January 2017

smartphone pile old phone junk

Millions of handsets are collecting dust in drawers.

People the world over have an unquenchable desire to possess the latest smartphone, even if their current handset works perfectly, and Australians are no different.

A study by finder.com.au shows of the 15.3 million active smartphones in Australia, one third (33%) are sitting in a drawer, unused and collecting dust.

The research reveals one in seven (69%) Australians upgrade their smartphones unnecessarily, meaning they have a fully-functioning device but neglect to use it unless there's an emergency.

One quarter (24%) of Aussies pass on their old smartphones to a friend or family member, while one in five (18%) are environmentally conscious, recycling their old handsets.

Around one in ten (9%) Australians sell or auction off their unwanted devices online via websites such as eBay, while a smaller proportion (6%) condemn them to the rubbish heap.

Different generations deal with outdated devices in different ways. Baby Boomers (32%) are far likelier than Generation X (15%) and Generation Y (8%) to recycle their old phones.

Gen Y (15%) are more inclined to sell their old handsets than Gen X (9%) and Baby Boomers (4%).

However, Gen X (22%) are the most charitable, re-gifting old phones to their children after upgrading.

Leading ways Australians dispose of their old smartphones

1Keep it as a back up
2Give it away as a hand-me-down to a family member or friend
3Recycle it
4Sell it online
5Throw it in the bin
6Trade it in

As well as our obsession with possessing the latest device on the market, Australians are exceedingly concerned about mobile phone security.

A recent study by finder.com.au found Australians are most concerned with offenders appropriating, stealing or defiling their identity (35%) or defrauding them of their finances (33%).

Buying a new phone? Compare a range of postpaid and prepaid mobile plans to find the best value deal.

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