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
99 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
99 months ago
always keep a spare phone
saved me headaches this week
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zhenya Avatar
99 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
99 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
99 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)

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