• March 25, 2023

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Almost everyone has broken their phone at some point. In fact, many of us have broken multiple smartphones over the past decade. As you might suspect, young people are slightly more likely to break their phones, with 77% of us between the ages of 18 and 29 having broken a phone. But older generations are not immune to the dropsies, with a very similar 74% of us between 30 and 44 having broken a phone.

All this breakage adds up: according to the data AT&T shared with me, 1.5 phones are broken, lost, or stolen every single second.

The most common way we break our phones?

Dropping them, as you might expect.

But 3% of people have also had the misfortune of having their dog chew on their smartphones. And 5% have done what many of us only do in our dreams: throwing their phones in a fit of rage.

Here’s how Americans break their phones:

  1. Dropped it while taking it out of my pocket or purse: 25%
  2. Slipped out of my hand while talking or texting: 20%
  3. Forgot it was in my lap when I stood up: 16%
  4. Dropped something on it: 10%
  5. Dropped it while taking a picture: 9%
  6. Dropped it in the toilet: 8%
  7. Child broke it: 7%
  8. Went into a pool, ocean, or lake with it: 6%
  9. Threw it in a fit of rage: 6%
  10. Broke it while intoxicated: 5%
  11. Dropped it in the bathtub: 5%
  12. Dog mistook it for a toy: 3%

(If you want some radical honesty, I’m personally guilty of #1, #4, and #8. My wife, however — and she’ll probably kill me for mentioning this — comes in a close second in our family phone breakage sweepstakes by having dropped not one but two phones into the toilet … at exactly the same time.)

To limit phone breakage, AT&T suggests keeping your phone in your pocket and using earbuds for audio and a smartwatch for checking notifications and — of course — using a quality case. But you knew that already, right?

One thing all that phone breakage will do is stimulate the economy. Or at least the smartphone economy. Smartphone shipments dropped a record 18.3% last quarter, according to the IDC, as we continue to deal with the aftereffects of Covid, supply chain disruptions, high inflation, and various economic ills.

In fact, 2022 saw the lowest number of smartphones shipped since 2013, according to IDC, with 1.21 billion units shipped.

Clearly, we need to break a few more phones.


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