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Strategy Analytics: Western European smartphone replacement cycle to shorten by nearly 20pc by 2025

Jasper Hart
January 11, 2021

Increasing 5G availability and pandemic recovery to drive desire to upgrade

The average smartphone replacement cycle in Western Europe will shorten from 40 months in 2020 to 33 months by 2025, according to the latest research from analyst firm Strategy Analytics.

Due to the forecasted decline of the Covid-19 pandemic as more people get vaccinated, subsequent improving economic conditions, and the increased marketing and availability of 5G-enabled smartphones, consumers will be more encouraged to upgrade their existing smartphone after less time.

Strategy currently estimates that the replacement cycle in the region hit a peak in 2020, rising to 40 months from 25 months in 2015, due partly to a lack of innovation and the financial restrictions imposed on many people by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

“European consumers today are replacing their old smartphones less frequently due to operator de-subsidization, lack of major hardware innovation, 4G maturity, and a virus pandemic that has wreaked havoc in the region,” said Strategy associate director Boris Metodiev.

Strategy senior director Linda Sui added: “We expect smartphones to make a European comeback in the next half-decade. Triggered by economic recovery and 5G migration, we forecast the smartphone replacement cycle in Western Europe to shorten to 39 months in 2021 and shorten further to 33 months by 2025. This is good news for hungry smartphone makers in the region, such as Xiaomi or Oppo, because a faster replacement cycle means European consumers will buy more smartphones.”

Metodiev added that there will still be large differences between localities in the region, noting that in the UK, consumers tend to upgrade their smartphones closer to every two years, while in France the average replacement time is closer to three years.

Fluctuating 5G availability throughout these countries will also affect the replacement cycle length.

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