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Smartphone Replacement Cycle Will Start Recovering from 2022 Onwards

by Boris Metodiev | Dec 17, 2021

Global smartphone replacement cycle was at its shortest level in 2013, when operator subsidies also reached record-high level. However, replacement cycle has been increasing from 2014. That trend has accelerated in recent years, mainly due to de-subsidy shift in major countries, the completion of 4G migration (phone side), smartphone booming in emerging markets, improved smartphone quality, as well as no major hardware innovations.

Covid-19 further pushed global smartphone replacement cycle up to a record high 43 months in 2020. However, we expect it will start slowly recovering from 2022 onwards, and we forecast global smartphone replacement cycle will shorten to 39 months by 2026, mainly triggered by economy recovery and 5G migration.

Regionally, North America leads the pack with the shortest replacement cycle, followed by Central & Eastern Europe. Africa Middle East posts the lowest smartphone replacement rate among all regions due to higher prepaid user base, lower GDP per capita and disposable income.

WSS clients can find the Global Smartphone Replacement Rate / Cycle Forecast by 88 Countries : 2008-2026 in the full report here.
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