When a new
Samsung fire hazard iPhone drops, do you promptly place your old one in the middle of a busy interstate and watch it "accidentally" get destroyed by oncoming traffic? According to a recent study cited by Mashable Monday, many tech-conscious consumers have been impacted by a phenomenon known as the "upgrade effect" and are "training" themselves to break their respective devices whenever a new model is available.
"We would feel guilty about upgrading without a reason—but if our current product were damaged or depleted, we'd have a justification to upgrade without appearing wasteful," Silvia Bellezza, an assistant professor of marketing at Columbia Business School, explained. "So, we use our phone in the rain or leave our laptop behind at airport security without being aware that our carelessness has an underlying motivation."
Bellezza, alongside Harvard Business School's Francesca Gina and University of Michigan's Josh Ackerman, supported the "upgrade effect" theory with multiple studies. For example, they found that the number of lost phone claims increases as the release date of a new model draws near by examining an IMEI Detective database of 3,000 misplaced iPhones.
The full findings, published in the American Marketing Association earlier this month, also noted that some companies have already tapped into the potential monetary benefits of this "upgrade effect." Virgin Mobile, for one, was way ahead of the Intentional Phone Smashers trend. Way back in 2013, they dropped this: