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Prices and unnecessary upgrades push consumers to buy second-hand mobile devices

People in the UK are growing tired of regular upgrade cycles for mobile devices

Rising prices and regular new releases of technology devices are driving more UK consumers to the second-hand market, according to research.

Research from shows that nearly half (48%) of consumers are now buying second-hand mobiles, laptops and tablets, rather than new ones.

This signals that makers of new devices are finding it harder to get people to upgrade because of high prices and features that are not yet in demand.

The high cost of new devices is the main reason for this, according to 52% of those using the second-hand market, but the inclusion of functionality they do not need, such as facial recognition, is putting 45% off buying the latest devices.

Accoding to the survey, two-thirds of people opting for used devices are getting them from family members or friends, while 26% are using online marketplaces.

“Given the recent hype surrounding the launch of the new iPhone X, it is quite surprising to see that consumers are increasingly opting for pre-owned models of their favourite technology,” said Mark Kelly, marketing manager at “While Brits will always be interested in new gadgets and their features, the market for pre-owned and recently refurbished products is growing as appetite for gadgets that ‘just do the job’ rises.

“The research shows a clear picture of how spending patterns on gadgets are changing with the times, as we become less inclined to have the most up-to-date gadgets on the market. Evidently, more of us are recognising the strong advantages of purchasing pre-owned devices, but it is clear there will always be those who do desire to have the newest gadgets.”

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People aged between 45 and 54 are most likely to opt for second-hand devices, while the 18 to 30 age group are most likely to buy the latest technology.

Apple recently launched its latest smartphone, the iPhone X, but experts have questioned whether the new device is a compelling enough proposition to entice users to upgrade. Richard Holway, chairman of research firm TechMarketView, said convincing existing iPhone users to upgrade would be a challenge.

“The real issue for Apple is whether both the new iPhone 8, which is just a small evolution, or the iPhone X, which is just a slightly bigger evolution, will make the many iPhone 6 users decide to upgrade,” he said. “I, like many others, have already kept my iPhone for three years – longer than I normally do.”

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