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ICR Poll Finds 2 of 3 Cell Phone Device Owners Plan to Replace Them Within the Next Two Years

(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two-thirds of cell phone owners and owners of PDA devices will replace them within the next two years, according to a poll just completed by ICR/International Communications Research, a full-service custom research company in Media, PA.

“There appears to be an opportunity to educate all consumers about  the need for and the benefits of recycling phones and iPhones, but particularly the younger population”

As might be expected, the younger generation is more likely to make a change sooner: 77% of those 18-34 plan to replace the items within the next two years, vs. 46% of those 65+.

Most owners – 78% – believe they will need to replace within the next 2 years because the items will break or be lost within that time, while only 19% will want to upgrade to the latest version. Upgraders also vary by age with 26% of 18-34 year-olds saying they do so vs. 14% of respondents 55+.

Regardless of age, men are more likely to be upgraders than women: 23% of men vs. 14% of women say they will upgrade to the latest version.

“A combination of factors seems to be driving these expectations that cell phones and PDAs will have to be replaced,” said Bob Thomas, Executive Vice President of ICR. “Lack of confidence in the durability of the product and the experience of losing the phone may be contributing to the expectation of a relatively short life of these products, particularly among younger people.”

“On the other hand, the percentage who say they want the latest version and will upgrade as quickly as possible is lower than we expected, suggesting that we should not rush to label ourselves as a ‘disposable society,” said Thomas.

Environmental consciousness is definitely playing a role when it comes to disposing of these types of items, with 61% either donating or recycling. 35% of respondents donate or give away their used product, while 26% either take to a site or send in the item for recycling. When it comes to donating these items, those over 35 are more likely to do so than those under 35 ( 25% 18-34 vs. 41% for those aged 35+). And, when it comes to recycling we find the same to be true ( 17% of 18-34 year-olds say they’ll take or mail for recycling, vs. 32% of those aged 35+, and as high as 39% for those 55+).

“There appears to be an opportunity to educate all consumers about the need for and the benefits of recycling phones and iPhones, but particularly the younger population,” said Bob Thomas.


The Technology Disposability Survey is based on ICR’s EXCEL Omnibus study of 1,000 consumers 18+ interviewed by telephone (including cell phones) November 27-29, 2009. The margin of error is 3% at the 95% confidence level.

The EXCEL Omnibus survey is conducted by phone among 1,000 consumers weekly, includes both cell-phone users and a robust Hispanic sample As a result, EXCEL represents an extremely reliable, representative sample based on rigorous sampling and methodology, and is used extensively not only by ICR’s business clients but also by academic, government and foundation partners.

ICR is a full-service market research company, providing research solutions addressing strategic and tactical issues in the US and 90 countries worldwide. For over 25 years, ICR has designed and implemented many marketing and opinion research studies among consumers, business professionals, physicians, and unique government and academic constituents. We provide our clients with direction in multiple areas, including product development, segmentation, brand building, advertising effectiveness, customer loyalty and social science research. For more information about ICR, please visit or