The smartphone market is worth $240 billion at the global level. This figure was made public during the trial between Apple and Samsung over patent infringements, but another market that has never had much attention is the smartphone repair market. Consumers spend large amounts of money on phone contracts, but also spend almost as much on repairs because phones have increasingly become more fragile in the last four to five years.
One of the more surprising statistics to come out is that Apple has brought in $5.9 billion in repairs since the iPhone first went on sale in 2007. The high costs along with the large amount of consumers who damage their phones are responsible for this; last year 30% of iPhone owners damaged their iDevices.
The data comes from a survey conducted by SquareTrade, who surveyed more than 2000 iPhone owners. Results indicate that the most common way of damaging an iPhone is by dropping it or by dropping something on it, especially liquids. 5% of consumers have put their phone in the washing machine and 9% have dropped it in a toilet. This is amusing but it seems plausible when one considers the number of people using their phones in restrooms. Water, soda, beer, wine, tea and coffee are the most common liquids to be spilled on the iDevices.
In many cases, iPhone owners resort to keeping a damaged iDevice because of the high repair costs or because they are not eligible for replacement owing to contracts with network providers. Usually, iPhones are replaced at a reduced price but some contracts do not allow this. 11% of owners keep phones with a broken screen while 6% have their device taped up and 17% of owners have damaged their phone more than twice. A lot of the users who damage their devices are under 35 years of age and many do not have insurance for the phones.
The fact that people are careless with phones is because a phone is an essential part of everyone’s life. The increasing repair costs seem to have gotten to customers who are now looking for insurance from network providers which entitle owners to a repaired or refurbished device if the one they have is damaged or broken.