Press Release

An additional $55 million returned to consumers in 2017 compared to 2016, despite them holding onto devices for longer

31 January 2018 – Mobile device trade-in programs put $2.156 billion back in the pockets of US consumers in 2017, an increase of $55 million from 2016, illustrating the growing momentum of the global used device ecosystem. This is despite consumers choosing to hold onto their devices for longer (more than two months on average) than in previous years. These are the key findings from HYLA Mobile’s Mobile Trade-In Industry Trends 2017 Annual Summary.

HYLA Mobile, the world’s leading specialist provider of mobile device trade-in and reuse solutions, has enabled the re-purposing of more than 46 million devices on behalf of operators, OEMs, insurance companies and retailers. As a pioneer of the re-purposed device ecosystem, it has unique visibility on the growth of the global market and can also share these exclusive findings:

• Of the top five traded devices in 2017, the iPhone 6 accounted for 40% of those traded devices.
• The iPhone, and its iterations, accounted for 90% of the top five traded devices in 2017.
• The average trade-in value across all makes and models of smartphones in 2017 was $106, up 7% from the previous year.
• On average, consumers owned a device for 2.59 years (945 days) before trading it in, 78 days longer than in 2016 (2.38 years or 867 days).
• The iPhone X had the highest trade-in value at an average price of $614.62.
• Along with smartphones and tablets, we have seen an increase in the volume of wearable devices. Although a nascent category, Q4 2017 volume showed a 10-fold increase from the previous quarter.

“Our review of 2017 emphatically proves that the re-purposed device ecosystem is growing and getting stronger,” said Biju Nair, CEO, HYLA Mobile. “It’s an industry that benefits and rewards all stakeholders: consumers, carriers, OEMs, retailers, insurance companies and the environment. Entities that are offering trade-in as a part of their upgrade experience have shown stronger customer retention and acquisition, increased sales of higher margin products, and higher net promoter scores across the board.”

With new mobile device prices continuing to rise, trade-in programs offer consumers an affordable means to meet these increasing costs. It also delivers a strong signal to operators and OEMs who must keep a close eye on residual device values, or risk losing money through associated depreciation. Higher new device prices bring greater levels of depreciation as highlighted by the iPhone X; the average trade-in value of this super-premium device in 2017 ($614.62) means it had lost nearly 40% of its value in just 2 months following its launch.

“Operators and retailers need to be aware of the risks tied to the fluctuation in used device values–especially as it can often mean cash scrubbed from their bottom line. The devaluation of the iPhone X underlines the importance to these stakeholders of having real-time device valuation data, according to age and condition, at their fingertips. This will allow them to offer correct valuations for used devices at the point of upgrade, and can trigger these upgrades at a time when maximum value for old devices can be recovered,” added Nair.

By analyzing new device entry price points, competitive market trends along with historical performance, HYLA Mobile provides operators, retailers, OEMs and insurance companies with a comprehensive view of device values. The SaaS-based HYLA Analytics platform, with built-in market insights, planning, simulation and evaluation capabilities, enables companies to propose the optimal pricing for trade-in and upgrade programs, ensuring that they remain a profitable customer retention tool.

HYLA Mobile’s Mobile Trade-In Industry Trends 2017 Annual Summary infographic is available to download here: