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5G could boost smartphone sales, Deloitte survey says

Sixty-seven percent of consumers say they're likely to buy a 5G-compatible phone once the technology is available.

5G could drive consumers to purchase new devices. 
Angela Lang/CNET

5G may be the push consumers need to trade in their phones for newer devices. Sixty-seven percent of consumers say they're more likely to purchase a new phone once 5G-compatible phones become available, according to Deloitte's Connectivity and Mobile Trends survey, out this week.

Sixteen percent of smartphone users surveyed by Deloitte say 5G capabilities are the most important factor when choosing their next phone. Twenty-six percent chose display quality as the top factor, while 22% chose brand. 

This could be a welcome change for the smartphone industry, given it's become difficult to convince users to purchase new devices. Around one in three consumers has a phone that's two years or older, according to Deloitte. In addition, less than 60% of people plan on purchasing a new phone in the next two years, the survey says. 

This could be due to two main factors, Deloitte suggests. First, more than half of consumers feel their current phone can do everything they need or say that new phones don't offer advancements that merit an upgrade. Second, Deloitte notes, more than 40% of consumers said they're not planning to upgrade because of economic reasons. 

"As carriers roll out 5G in the United States, a significant number of consumers will adopt the service quickly — if it delivers on its promise of faster speeds and better coverage," Deloitte Vice Chairman Kevin Westcott said in a release. "Major networks and studios will continue to launch their own streaming and other data-heavy entertainment services like online multiplayer games, augmented reality, and virtual reality, accelerating the race to attract and retain customers."

Consumers aren't just looking to upgrade their phones when 5G rolls out. Sixty-two percent said they'd likely swap their home internet for 5G Wi-Fi if it offers speeds comparable to fiber, according to Deloitte. Additionally, more than 40% of Gen Z consumers said they'll play more mobile video games once 5G becomes available, and around 35% of Gen Z and millennials say the availability of 5G will change how they use augmented reality and virtual reality.