The state of mobile phone e-commerce in September: User behaviour on Carousell

Tech-savvy digital consumers often do their research to compare market prices before purchasing the newest gadgets and devices. This means they know the worth of their existing devices and are more often than not preparing to sell them in exchange for a newer device.

This digital phenomenon is even more common in September, widely known to be the annual period Apple launches its newest line-up of iPhones. To give better context, an example would be last year’s month-on-month trend in mobile e-commerce on the Carousell platform. Here are some notable trends we’ve seen on the Carousell platform with mobile phones in September.

unlocking user behaviour insights mobile phones

(Source: Carousell Media Group)

Before the launch

1. Generally, the latest iPhone’s predecessor would see a surge in searches in the month leading up to September (i.e August) 

Users are looking up prices of old models often in preparation to sell their current devices once they’ve purchased the latest iPhone. Otherwise, they would be researching the value of their current device to evaluate the worth of getting the newest iPhone as opposed to keeping their current one. In the case of last year’s iPhone 13 launch, many were searching for the iPhone 12.


After the launch

2. Huge spikes for the newest iPhone model after the launch in mid-September.

Once the new iPhone model is released, we see a huge spike in searches for the latest model indicative of high demand. Many consumers either choose to resell them for profit once procuring the newest model, or are authorised mobile phone retailers who have received their stocks slightly later than larger retailers who tend to receive them earlier.


3. Older iPhone models decrease in popularity over time

This goes without saying, but generally both the value and demand for the older models decrease over time. This was the case for the iPhone 11 when the iPhone 13 came out in September 2021. We continued to see demand for the iPhone 11 stagnate in the marketplace throughout the year. Notably, a slight spike was seen from August-November, possibly coming from more financially-strapped consumers willing to buy models 2 generations down to replace their even older phone models, or are looking to switch from other mobile phone brands (i.e Android models) without having to break the bank first.


Interestingly enough, the iPhone 12 maintained its demand in the marketplace despite the launch of the iPhone 13 even towards the end of the year. As each new iPhone launches annually, its direct predecessor would naturally lose its original value. However, oftentimes there aren’t any major breakthroughs made from the last model aside from camera tweaks, improved battery life, and a faster chip. The generic user wouldn’t be able to tell the difference lest they do their research or are tech enthusiasts. Hence, many are willing to opt for its predecessors. While they may not be getting Apple’s latest technology, they still get similar features at a fraction of its original price.


We surveyed shoppers on Carousell on their purchasing intentions for mobile phones. Here are some highlights:

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  • Majority of consumers (56%) are influenced by online video reviews when making purchasing decisions.
  • Apple wins by a landslide at 72% as the most popular mobile phone brand that users are considering purchasing. Coming in second is Samsung at 56%, and Xiaomi at 26%.
  • The iPhone outshines all its competitors by an overwhelming majority at 66% as the most popular phone model users are considering purchasing. Samsung Galaxy is second place at 33%.
purchasing intentions for mobile phones

(Source: Carousell Media Group)

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