Almost half of the consumers who buy a new smartphone are storing their older phone instead of recycling it in the used handset market, according to the "Mobile Mountain Study" conducted by research group OnePoll for resale site SellCell (via MarketWatch). These unused phones are worth almost $47 billion, with older iPhone models accounting for approximately $13.4 billion of these hoarded phones.

Though many people are storing their iPhones, some owners are taking advantage of the iPhone's strong resale value by trading them in. A SellCell survey from January 2014 shows that the iPhone 4 and 4S are among the most traded-in cellphones in the US. The most lucrative Top Ten trade-in is the 16GB iPhone 5s, which sells for an average price of $325. The 5s is followed by the Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB at $213 and the iPhone 5 16GB at $211.

sellcell-january2014-survey

Source: SellCell.com; survey conducted in January 2014

Most people (40%) with an old phone sitting in their drawer keep the device as a spare, while others (36%) just don't know what to do with them. A small percentage (20%) give them away to friends or family or to charity (12%). A surprisingly high number of people are simply "too lazy" to recycle or trade-in their old phones (17%), while others have elected to simply throw theirs in the trash (9%).

The recycling of phones will become increasingly important as the smartphone market reaches its saturation point in the next few years. As customers switch from feature phones to smartphones, iPhone ownership is expected to increase to 68% by 2017 with customers acquiring phones from both new and used sources.

Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
92 months ago
Having a spare phone sitting around is awesome when your main phone suffers a mishap.

They're usually not worth very much anyway on the used market, so they're more valuable as a spare.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gotluck Avatar
92 months ago
always keep a spare phone
saved me headaches this week
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zhenya Avatar
92 months ago
Having a spare phone sitting around is awesome when your main phone suffers a mishap.

They're usually not worth very much anyway on the used market, so they're more valuable as a spare.
I have sold every one of my used iPhones on Craigslist for between $400-500 - more than enough to cover the cost of the newest model. 500 bucks is not exactly pocket change.

Number of times I've needed a spare phone in 8+ years of smart-phone ownership? ZERO.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KdParker Avatar
92 months ago
That is alot of phones.

We should recycle these phones or donate to charities that could put these phones to use.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SLFGNR8 Avatar
92 months ago
Affordability

Handing them down is how we afford iDevices for the children, they get the old phones to use as an "iPod touch". After the iOS times out they become dedicated music players for the cars, treadmill, etc.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Gain Breakthrough New Health Feature

Friday March 5, 2021 5:34 am PST by
Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new, first-of-its-kind health technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, in what could be a breakthrough for managing conditions such as diabetes more easily. According to a recent report from ETNews, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature blood glucose monitoring via a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels, also known as blood...
apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
imac pro featured black

Apple Confirms iMac Pro Will Be Discontinued When Supplies Run Out, Recommends 27-Inch iMac

Saturday March 6, 2021 7:33 am PST by
Apple on late Friday evening added a "while supplies last" notice to its iMac Pro product page worldwide, and removed all upgrade options for the computer, leaving only the standard configuration available to order for now. We've since confirmed with Apple that when supplies run out, the iMac Pro will no longer be available whatsoever. Apple says the latest 27-inch iMac introduced in August...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro

OLED 10.9-Inch iPad Rumored for Early 2022, 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and 16-Inch MacBook Pro Could Follow

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:37 pm PST by
Earlier today, DigiTimes shared a preview of an upcoming report claiming that Apple is working on both iPad and Mac notebook models with OLED displays that could launch starting in 2022. The full report from DigiTimes is now available, and it includes several new alleged details about Apple's plans. According to the report, the first of these devices to adopt an OLED display is likely to be...
apple products refurbished store banner

Class Action Lawsuit Over Apple Providing Refurbished Replacement Devices Proceeding to Trial in August

Friday March 5, 2021 9:53 am PST by
Initially filed in 2016, a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of violating the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and other U.S. laws by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices is set to proceed to trial August 16, according to a notice this week from law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Apple's repair terms and conditions state that,...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature2

iPhone 13 Rumor Recap: Smaller Notch, Larger Batteries, 120Hz for Pro Models, Improved 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and More

Friday March 5, 2021 8:20 am PST by
While we are likely at least six months away from Apple unveiling the so-called iPhone 13 lineup, rumors about the devices are starting to accumulate, so we've put together this recap of everything that is expected so far. The upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will consist of the same four models and the same screen sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,...
maxresdefault

What's on Your iPhone Home Screen?

Thursday March 4, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Over on our YouTube channel, MacRumors videographer Dan has a new video up where he shares his Home Screen, wallpaper, and all of his current favorite widgets. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Check out Dan's video to see his setup, and then comment below and show us your own Home Screens. It's always fun to see other peoples' Home Screens, and with widgets and...
OLED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro

iPad and MacBook Models With OLED Displays Rumored to Launch in 2022

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:19 am PST by
Apple plans to release new iPad and MacBook models with OLED displays in 2022, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The information was shared in the site's paywalled "Before Going to Press" section, so there are no further details yet, but the full report should be released by tomorrow. Apple has gradually increased its adoption of OLED...
Top Stories 48

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Leaks, OLED iPads and Macs, New AirTags Evidence

Saturday March 6, 2021 6:00 am PST by
iPhone rumors are heating up, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week releasing a wide-ranging report outlining his expectations for the iPhone lineup over the next three years. This week also saw rumors about OLED displays potentially coming to iPad and Mac starting next year, increasing signs of AirTags functionality in iOS 14.5 betas, and more, so check out all of the details below! i...
imac pro while supplies last

iMac Pro No Longer Custom Configurable, Available 'While Supplies Last'

Friday March 5, 2021 10:14 pm PST by
Apple appears to be on the verge of discontinuing the iMac Pro, with the store page for the high-end all-in-one Mac including a "While supplies last" tagline and only the base model with no custom configurations available for purchase. The iMac Pro launched in December 2017, and while there have been a few tweaks to the available configurations over the years, it has received no substantial...