How regularly do people upgrade their smartphones in 2018?

In 2014, it was widely reported that mobile devices had grown to outnumber humans.

According to BankMyCell, the machines are well and truly on the rise, with over 1 billion additional mobile connections than there are people.

Missing from these statistics is data around people with multiple devices, internet dongles, M2M (Machine to Machine) connected devices and Dual SIM usage, but the rise in the number of smartphones is nonetheless phenomenal.

We last looked at how often people upgrade their devices in July 2017, so let's dig into our latest data to see, based on "Year of Release", just how long people use their phones before upgrading to a newer device.

The most popular Year of Release is 2016

One of 185 device capabilities and data points available with DeviceAtlas, Year of Release indicates the year a device first went on sale, as well as providing wider trends on the frequency of device updates in any given country.

The most popular phones in use today were released in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Devices released in 2015 include the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, the Motorola Moto G, Samsung Galaxy S6, Xiaomi Redmi 2 and a whole range of HTC One variants.

The most notable smartphones released in 2016 are the iPhone 7, now the world's most popular device, as well as the Motorola Moto G4, Google's Pixel, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Huawei P9.

2017 saw some high-profile launches from the world's largest smartphone makers, including the iPhone 8, iPhone X, Google's Pixel 2, the Samsung Galaxy S8, Huawei P10 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.

What this tells us is that there's a 18-24 month delay, on average, between an updated version of a user's device becoming available and that same user taking the plunge and upgrading. There are numerous other factors that come into play here too, such as contract length, upgrade eligibility and brand loyalty, but the trends we see make for interesting analysis.

Year of Release by Country

The below charts show the percentage of overall mobile web traffic generated by devices (released 2013-2018) in each country during Q2 2018.

The popularity of phones from 2016 is clear, the only exception being India, where we've seen an explosion in the popularity of feature phones in the last year.


Detect 'Year of Release' to target ads and analyze web traffic

DeviceAtlas lets you detect the year of release as one of the standard device properties.

A popular use of this property is enhanced ad targeting, where an advertiser wishes to target owners of a specific device when an upgrade is available, or simply to promote similar newly released devices.

Year of Release can also help on the campaign reporting side, as well as enhancing all aspects of web and app analytics by adding an additional layer of insight.

Check out our web analytics demo to get a better idea of how device detection can be used in your environment.

Main Image By HT, via Flickr.

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