Were you one of the 78 million Americans who broke their phones in 2023?

The “Good Hands” people are keeping tabs on smartphone owners with bad hands. Allstate Protection Plans says that in 2023, 78 million Americans damaged their phones. And the money shelled out to repair smartphone screens is rising sharply. Allstate says that in 2022, Americans spent $8.3 billion on screen repair compared to the $3.4 billion spent on the same repairs in 2018. Since the launch of the first smartphone in the U.S., it has cost Americans a whopping $149 billion to repair their connected handsets.

Fewer Americans damaged their smartphone in 2023 compared to 2020

Today’s release from Allstate highlighted the results of its third Mobile Mythconceptions study. Smartphone users might be learning how to be more careful with these devices. As we noted, the report says that over the last year, Americans damaged their smartphones 78 million times. That compares favorably with the 87 million Americans who damaged their smartphones during 2020.

Allstate says that 31 out of every 100 American smartphone owners damaged a phone over the last year. Luckily, only 8% lost that device permanently because of the damage and another 5% had their phone stolen from them in 2023. The top issues reported by smartphone owners last year included a damaged screen (67%) followed by Wi-Fi or connectivity issues (28%), problems with the touchscreen (24%), damaged charging port (22%), water damage (21%), improperly working battery (21%), chipped corner/sides (20%), issues with the phone’s speaker (17%), a dent in the corner or side of the phone (15%), camera not working correctly (14%), and microphones working incorrectly (11%).

Here’s an interesting statistic. It seems that more Americans are concerned about the effects on the environment that take place when a device is repaired or replaced. 53% of Americans say now that this is important to them compared to the 37% who said that this was important back in 2020. 46% of those surveyed said that they know how to recycle an old or broken smartphone although only 27% have recycled such a phone.

There is no way around the fact that smartphones play a very important role in our lives. This role is so important that Allstate computes that 27% of Americans who broke the display on their phones initiated a repair for their devices no later than the very next day. 36% of smartphone owners also said that if their device had a broken button, they would wait a day or less to repair it. 30% said the same thing about damaged speakers, 29% for broken microphones, and 22% for a broken camera.

38% of Americans will replace their broken phones while 32% will keep the damaged devices

Although 38% of Americans with a damaged phone ended up replacing the broken handset, 32% decided to continue using the phone despite the damage. 23% took their damaged device to a repair shop to be fixed while 17% tried to repair their phones themselves.

Repairing a busted phone is expensive. Allstate’s survey discovered that 49% of Americans would not pay to repair a broken phone that still functioned because of the costs involved to fix it. The average cost to repair or fix a smartphone is $302; despite this piece of data, 47% of Americans say that the average repair will cost them $150 or less. And the resulting sticker shock fits under the “costs” category as 39% of those surveyed said that they held on to a damaged phone because it cost too much to fix. 21% didn’t want to spend time away from their phone and 15% said that they wanted to wait for an update to replace the damaged device.

So what happens to damaged smartphones? 40% told Allstate that they use a damaged handset as a backup and 35% trade these damaged phones in to lower the price of a new phone. 27% recycle these phones, 22% give them to friends or family members, 19% sell their broken phones, and 14% toss them in the trash. 38% of Americans said that they would be interested in purchasing a refurbished phone although 35% of those expressing such an interest would buy a refurbished device for environmental reasons.

Allstate surveyed 1,500 American smartphone owners in May 2023, and another 1,004 in December 2023.

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