How many Canadians trade in their phones?


That’s about 60 million idle phones.

Most people have a drawer full of miscellaneous items, old chargers, and sometimes a mobile device you no longer use. According to a new survey from MCE Systems, Canadians have approximately 60 million idle phones lying around the house, which represents up to $6 billion in untapped money.

According to Robert Hackl, president of MCE Systems, the goal of the survey was to understand how satisfied consumers were with mobile phone trade-in services and to look at ways to optimize that experience.

“I just want to make sure the problems we solve care about consumers and operators,” he said.

Conducted in April 2022, it uses a sample of 2,800 Canadians who have either traded in an old phone or have never used the service before.

The results showed that 83 percent of Canadian consumers do not believe that their mobile operators offer the best prices for mobile exchange. Additionally, 57% of Canadian consumers have never traded in a mobile device.

Hackl says there are three reasons Canadians may choose not to trade in their old phones: friction with their carrier, such a painful ordeal to trade in the phone or a lengthy process, price uncertainty, and lack of confidence.

According to the survey, 29% of Canadian consumers said they received a different quote after their device was inspected.

“If you have for each commercial transaction, 8% of people who change operators, that’s not enough, is it? So it’s the trusted piece around the carrier,” Hackl said.

For those who regularly trade in their mobile device, the primary motivation for doing so was to get an upgrade. The second most popular motivator was to get more money or cut costs on the next mobile device.

“The one thing we underestimate is that even if the consumer saves money on their traded-in phone, the more phones that are traded in, the more they can be reused,” Hackl said.

Among the motivations for exchanging a phone, 17% cited ecological reasons. According to Hackl, if one million devices are traded in, this saves 48 tons of CO2 emissions.

The hope is that the poll will shed light on the need to create a better system for Canadians to trade in their phones, Hackl adds. The results show that 36% of consumers who started the redemption process online and then visited a retail store had to start the process over again because the systems were not connected. Thirty-three percent also noted that the process takes longer than 30 minutes.


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