From sitting on them, to dropping them down the toilet, microwaving to washing them, more than one fifth of Britons have damaged their phone so badly it needed to be replaced, according to new research.
The study, from Lightspeed GMI, indicated that an unlucky – or accident prone – 15% have had to replace a damaged phone three or more times in the last five years.
Almost one in 10 (9%) have lost a smartphone and 5% have had one stolen, the study found.
iPhone users appear to be the most unlucky, with 47% saying they had done at least one of the things in the chart above, compared to 41% of Android phone users, 38% of Windows phone users and 35% of other smartphone users. In particular at 31% iPhones are the most likely to be sat on or to end up in lunch or dinner (10%).
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People were asked what broken phone functions they could put up with, before they sought a repair or a replacement device. Being unable to make or receive calls was the only scenario where at least half said they would pay to repair or replace their phone – it would drive almost two thirds to do so.
Apart from the call function, it seems we’re a hardy bunch, preferring to put up with problems rather than paying for a repair or replacement. Almost two thirds (63%) would live with a scratched screen, and over half a broken headphone socket. 45% would live without the latest software updates.
With so many accidents, what precautions do phone owners take to care for their device? Most smartphone owners use a protective case all the time (62%) – with women slightly more likely to do so than men. However, with everything from sparkles to pop stars and in every colour of the rainbow, the cases could be viewed as more fashion than function. iPhone owners are much more likely to use a protective case all the time than other phone owners, yet they have more mobile mishaps so it might be more a case of customising the phone than caring for it.
It’s not a surprise that owners would like their phones to come better protected. At the moment only 10% say their phone is waterproof or water resistant – but almost two thirds (64%) would like this feature in their next handset. Only 8% said their phone was smash and drop resistant. What perhaps is a surprise is just how few people have phone insurance: just over one quarter has mobile phone insurance, with 25-34s and 55-64s and iPhone owners the most likely to have taken out a policy.
The research shows that there certainly are opportunities to encourage more people to insure their phones. More than half of those surveyed (60%) would be interested in a phone contract that guaranteed a no questions asked like-for-like replacement if they damaged their phone accidentally.
Ralph Risk, Marketing Director Europe, Lightspeed GMI concludes: “With Christmas coming up, mobile handset manufacturers might want to think about ways to make phones more appealing – particularly as the market is at saturation point. Technical gizmos are all well and good, but there’s a real opportunity to make them people-proof too. Being shockproof and waterproof and coming with a protective cover are features that we know appeal to consumers. Throw in a no-quibble replacement insurance policy for the chewed, cooked, squashed, soaked or dropped phone, and there may be a new revenue stream for manufacturers.”
This survey was conducted on GMI’s UK online panel in October 2014. There were 1,000 respondents, all of whom had a smartphone. 54.5% had an Android phone, 29% had an iPhone, 9.5% had a Windows phone and 7% had another type of smartphone e.g. Blackberry.