Monday, 14 August 2017 11:53

More than 2 million smartphones lost, destroyed in 5 years

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Aussies lost or destroyed their smartphones at a rate of 1370 per day — or 2.5 million smartphones in the last five years — and, it seems, millennials are the worst offenders.

According to new research published by comparison website finder.com.au, 29% of millennials — loosely described as those born between 1982 and 2004 — permanently misplaced or damaged their phones beyond repair.

And, for good measure, finder says millennials are three times more likely to lose or ruin a smartphone than Baby Boomers.

Overall, the survey of 2005 Australians shows 1 in 10 people (10%) have broken at least one device beyond repair in the past five years, while 6% have simply lost their phone.

According to Angus Kidman, editor-in-chief and tech expert at finder.com.au, Aussies can be quite negligent when it comes to their phones.

“Given that a premium smartphone costs as much as the average weekly wage in Australia, that’s a lot of money being wasted,” he says.  

“We buy phones in different ways. Some prefer to get a free handset on a two-year contract, while others prefer to buy it outright or find a second hand option on eBay.

“But whatever you paid initially, if your phone is trashed you’ll need to cough up some cash to replace it, unless you have phone insurance or are happy to go back to a spare older phone.”

Finder.com.au reckons on an average smartphone replacement cost of $300, and Kidman urges people to invest in a decent cover for their phone and to consider whether insurance is a worthwhile investment.

“If you regularly crack your screen or break your phone, a good case is a smart move to avoid replacement costs.

“And don't invite trouble: don’t text and walk, don’t use your phone near large bodies of water.”

A previous finder.com.au study shows many Aussies do keep spares for emergencies – one third (33%) keep their old phones on hand as back-ups, while one in four (24%) gave it away to a friend or family member.

But finder.com.au also found that only 1 in 10 (9%) spendthrift Aussies cash in their used handsets online via the likes of eBay to make some extra dollars.

So, here’s some helpful advice from finder.com.au on how to protect your smartphone:

Make sure you have a case

At the very least, most if not all smartphone users should use a case. A case covers corners, edges and the back of a smartphone, which means it will absorb some of the impact when your device is dropped.

Keep it in your pocket

It may sound simple, but in many cases your smartphone is better off in your handbag or pocket. Want to take a selfie in the pool? Think twice before you do.

Buy a screen protector

Whether it’s tempered glass or plastic, screen protectors can avoid smashing your screen or small scratches. Plastic will generally be cheaper, but glass is usually sturdier and more durable, and they may spare you the cost of replacing the entire screen.  

Consider insurance

If broken phones are a common occurrence, you might want to consider phone insurance. Depending on your policy, it can cover the cost of repairs or a replacement.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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