Press Release | 16 Oct 2020

Brits miss out on £6.9bn of potential savings by not trading in their phones

  • As the hotly anticipated iPhone 12 Series is announced, Vodafone reveals that Brits could be missing out on £6.9bn of savings by not trading in their old phones.
  • The YouGov survey reveals that we massively underestimate the value of our phones, with almost a third (28%) thinking an iPhone X is worth under £100, when in reality its average market trade-in value is over double that (£220).
  • Among trade-in rejectors**, things that put us off trading in our old phones include concerns about security and privacy (25%) and lack of trust in the quotes given to us in the past (23%). While 4.7 million Brits admitted to having thrown a phone away in a general waste bin.
  • To give customers the value they deserve from their old phone, in an industry first, Vodafone is launching a new trade-in tool via the MyVodafone app (download here for iOS, here for Android). Within just a few minutes and a few short steps, the customer can receive an instant guarantee on the value of their trade-in saving when buying their iPhone 12.
  • TV Presenter and consumer affairs champion, Michelle Ackerley, has been appointed as Vodafone’s first Chief Trade-in Officer to help spread the word.

Vodafone has today revealed the results of research with YouGov that show how Brits are missing out on £6.9bn of potential savings by not trading in their existing handsets as they upgrade to the latest tech.

Despite the huge potential savings, 88% of Brits have never traded in a phone before, with the vast majority massively underestimating (by over £100) what a handset could be worth if traded in when choosing a new handset. A third of Brits who rejected trade-in** decided to skip savings and keep their old handset as a back-up – but nearly two thirds (58%) say they’ve never used them. Nearly 60% of households in the UK have between one and three unused devices sitting at home gathering dust.

Security and privacy are big concerns for Brits who rejected trade-in**, with a quarter saying they wouldn’t trade in for this reason.  Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of people (25%) who have traded-in**** say they didn’t receive as much for their phone as they were promised. And 4.7 million Brits admitted to throwing a phone away in a general waste bin.

At a time when it’s more important than ever to find the best deals, Vodafone is launching its new trade-in tool to help overcome the issues that have put people off trading in their phones in the past.

From tomorrow, in time for the new iPhone 12 Series, customers can trade in their previous iPhone to unlock a guaranteed saving on the hottest new gadget around. The innovative tool, accessible through the MyVodafone app, is quick and easy to use and takes just a few minutes.

Using Vodafone’s trade-in tool, customers will know instantly if their handset has passed all of the trade-in checks, and they will know the guaranteed saving they will make each month on the new one, before they have to send away their device.

It’s easy to understand the saving as it appears as part of your first bill and there’s no need to pay an up-front fee and then trade in your device separately (as has been the case previously). Phones currently eligible for trade-in are the iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR and the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus.

What’s more, you don’t have to be a Vodafone customer – anyone can download the app to unlock a great price on the new iPhone.

Max Taylor, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK, said: “With our new, market-leading trade-in tool we’re fixing what has previously put people off trading in.  We have made the process quick and easy and will guarantee the saving you will make upfront.

“At a time when looking after your money is more important than ever, we can help customers still get their hands on the latest tech and unlock substantial savings.”

TV presenter and Vodafone’s newly appointed Chief Trade-in Officer, Michelle Ackerley, said: “So many people have missed out on savings because the trade-in experience just hasn’t been good enough. It’s so frustrating to be quoted one price, and then have that reduced at the last minute.

“As the new Vodafone Chief Trade-in Officer, I want to make sure everyone knows how much money they could be saving, and that everyone gets what they’ve been promised. I want to help customers upgrade to the latest tech at a much more affordable price than they might think is possible.”

To mark the launch of the new iPhone 12 Series, Vodafone’s new trade-in tool initially allows customers to trade in iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR or iPhone 8 or 8 Plus for a guaranteed monthly saving on the new handset. In future, more handsets will be available to trade in. The trade-in tool is available on the MyVodafone app and in Vodafone stores from Friday 16 October.


Notes to editors
The research was based on a YOUGOV poll of 2,000 consumers from 7-8 October 2020.
Trade-in rejectors are those who have not traded in.

Trade-in with Vodafone
Guaranteed trade-ins only apply if phones are in good working condition. They must:

  • power on to the home screen;
  • have no more than three scratches or cracks, and if there are any scratches or cracks, these can be no longer than 10mm;
  • have a fully functional touchscreen, for example, that responds correctly to directional swipes and selecting keyboard letters and apps.

The app is available to download from Friday 16 October 2020.

Big number – all calculations done by iris Worldwide

  • The current UK population is 67,983,287 as of Friday, 9 October 2020, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
  • 93% own a smart phone = 63,224,456.91. 88 % haven’t traded in before = 55,637,522.0808. Multiplied by £152.67 (Vodafone’s average trade-in value) = £6,991,967,399.894.

Vodafone’s average trade-in value has been based on the average of their top five traded-in devices including:

iPhone 8 64GB: £133.33
iPhone 7 32GB: £75.33
Galaxy S9: £141
iPhone XR 64GB: £254
iPhone 8+ 64GB: £159.67

Michelle’s quote

  • The current population of the United Kingdom is 67,983,287 as of Friday, 9 October, 2020, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
  • 11% have traded in = 7,478,161.57. 25% received less than they were quoted = 1,869,540.3925. 19% of 1,869,540.3925 were left feeling disappointed by the process = 355,212.674575.

Regarding number of phones thrown away

  • The current population of the United Kingdomis 67,983,287 as of Friday, 9 October, 2020, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
  • 7% have thrown a phone in a general waste bin = 4,758,830.09.

[** Those who do not consider trade-in the future or haven’t done so in the past two years. N = 1,826]

[**** N=228 have traded their phone in the past two years]

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

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