The release of each new iPhone model is a big-money occasion for Apple. This year, though, many people may not want to increase their monthly phone spending, as the U.S. is still working to recover from the economic damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate is still high at 5.2% and total credit card debt stands at around $900 billion, 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, only 24% of Americans plan to spend more on their phone this year, according to a nationally representative survey conducted by WalletHub.
WalletHub’s survey 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. 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 2 in 5 Americans say that their phone is their most important belonging during the pandemic.
- iPhones and debt: Nearly 1 in 5 people think that the new iPhone is worth going into debt for.
- Few people judge not upgrading: 15% of people think that not having the new iPhone is a sign someone is struggling financially.
- Discontent with credit checks: 45% of consumers don’t think it’s fair that cell phone carriers check your credit score.
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 1 in 5 people think a new phone is worth going into debt for – why do you think that is?
- Does it surprise you that 24% of Americans say they are planning to increase the cost of their cell phone as a result of the pandemic?
- Despite higher unemployment levels, 1 in 3 people plan on getting the new iPhone this year. Is that realistic?
- Is it fair that cell phone carriers check your credit score?
Ask the Experts
This report reflects the results of a nationally representative online survey of nearly 800 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?|
|Is not having the latest iPhone a sign that someone is struggling financially?|
|Has the pandemic made you want to spend more or less money on your next phone?|
|Are you willing to try a budget cell phone carrier?|
|Are you aware that budget cell phone carriers use the same networks as major carriers?|
|Is it fair that cell phone carriers check your credit score?|
|Is your phone your most important belonging?|
Note: Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.