By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO ) — On Tuesday, Apple will hold one of its big events announcing new products. This year, the company is expected to introduce the iPhone 11.

In recent announcements, that would lead to big lines as new Apple products hit the market. But, over the past few years, customers aren’t snatching them up like they used to.

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So, how often do we replace our phones? Good Question.

“The devices have been lasting longer, so the upgrade cycle has been elongated,” says Michael Olson, managing director and senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray.

Olson says the upgrade cycle used to be very consistent – every two years. But, according to Hyla Mobile, people are now trading in their phones, on average, every three years.

iPhone users WCCO talked with say they’re keeping their phones longer due to the higher cost, lack of significant technology changes, unwillingness to adapt to a new phone or simply because their old phone still works well.

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“They’ve done a great job that makes it last a long time,” says Olson. “And, they haven’t done a lot to upgrade it in a significant way in the last few years.”

Olson says the last time Apple saw users replace their phones in droves was after the introduction of the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. That phone had a larger screen.

“That caused a significant spike in upgrades,” Olson says.

According to data from IHS Market, the year’s top-selling phones worldwide are the iPhone XR, followed by the Samsung Galaxy A10 and Samsung Galaxy A50.

Olson believes there will be another spike in upgrades in 2020, when Apple is expected to have 5G in its phones.

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“Initially it won’t be for everyone, but I think there will be a fear of missing out, where you realize all the things your friends and family can do with a 5G device that you’re not able to do,” he says.

Heather Brown