The release of each new iPhone model is a big-money occasion for Apple, but this year many people may not have as much money to spend due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate is 8.4% and total credit card debt stands at nearly $1 trillion, which means that buying a new iPhone is an even bigger decision for consumers than usual. Depending on what features people want, they may have to shell out over $1,000 for a new device. For some people, that's too much. In fact, 36 percent of Americans plan to reduce the cost of their cell phone as a result of the pandemic, according to a nationally representative survey conducted by WalletHub. However, despite the overall financial outlook, one in three Americans still plan on getting the new iPhone this year.
WalletHub examined not only how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Americans’ cell phone purchase plans, but also why people buy new phones, how essential phones are and more. Below, you can find additional highlights from WalletHub’s 2021 iPhone Survey, along with further insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology. Consumers looking to save money on a new cell phone purchase can also check out WalletHub’s Cell Phone Savings Calculator to crunch the numbers.
- iPhone demand is still high: Despite high unemployment, 1 in 3 people plan on getting the new iPhone this year.
- MVP – most valuable possession: Almost half of Americans say that their phone is their most important belonging during the pandemic.
- Americans want price reductions: Almost 75 percent of people think that Apple should charge less for the iPhone due to COVID-19.
- iPhones worth borrowing for: About 73 percent more people think that the new iPhone is worth going into debt for compared to last year.
Ask the Experts
As consumers decide whether or not they can afford to purchase a new iPhone this year, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts for further insight. Click on the pictures of the experts below to view their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- WalletHub’s survey found that nearly 40% more people think a new phone is a necessity this year than last year, and over 70% more people think a new phone is worth going into debt for – why do you think that is?
- Does it surprise you that just 36% of Americans say they are planning to reduce the cost of their cell phone as a result of the pandemic?
- Almost 75% of people think Apple should charge less for the iPhone due to COVID-19 – are they right?
- Should iPhones be used for coronavirus contact tracing?
Ask the Experts
This report reflects the results of a nationally representative online survey of nearly 450 respondents.
After we collected all responses, we normalized the data by age, gender and income so the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.
Full Details Overall
|Do you plan on purchasing the new iPhone launching later this year?|
|Is a new iPhone worth going into credit card debt?|
|Is a new phone a necessity?|
|How will you choose your next phone?|
|Are you planning to reduce the cost of your cell phone as a result of the pandemic?|
|Has the pandemic made you want to spend more or less money on your next phone?|
|Should iPhones be used for coronavirus contact tracing?|
|Should Apple charge less for the iPhone due to COVID-19?|
|Would it bother you if your phone is assembled in China?|
|Is your phone your most important belonging during the pandemic?|
Note: Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.