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Are Gen Z and Millennials Still Buying Brand New Tech?

Our data shows Gen Z and Millennials are not as concerned with owning brand-new devices as you may think…


  • Most Gen Z and Millennials are shopping for technology with budget as a priority
  • One main way they’re saving on tech is getting older devices, because they’re just as good as new ones to these gens
  • They even believe it’s just as good to purchase a used, but professionally repaired, refurbished phone—with more than one factor driving their decisions to go this route

YPulse’s Tech / Device Usage report shows 80% of Gen Z and Millennials own a smartphone, but 30% say they plan to buy one in the coming year, which means that some will be buying an updated version of the one they already own. But prices of new tech today are higher than ever, and though many young consumers consider brands like Apple to be luxury brands, owning their products can feel like a necessity. And having the latest, most upgraded device their brand of choice has to offer is something most young people want: our data shows that 60% agree they always want the newest device. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the one they will actually purchase. In fact, they’re more likely to say they wait on products for a price drop, because they know it’s just as good. 

YPulse data has shown that price is a driving factor behind so many of Gen Z and Millennials’ purchases, and tech is no exception—but it seems unavoidable, given our data shows 74% agree “Technology like smartphones are essential, not a luxury.” Knowing that they’re always aiming to save a buck (especially with the current state of inflation), these three stats show how young consumers are approaching tech purchases from a budget mindset:  

72% of Gen Z and Millennials agree "I am a bargain hunter when shopping for technology"

The vast majority of young consumers say they are bargain hunters when it comes to technology: they’re looking to get the devices they want for less than face value. And it’s no wonder why; the average price of a smartphone in 2023 is just over $700, and even more with some of their favorite brands. Our data shows young consumers are more likely to be Apple iPhone owners than Android owners, and their newest model begins retail price at $799.  

Millennial parents are especially likely to be tech bargain hunters, as they’re shopping not only for themselves but for their children, too. Yes, even their less-than-9-year-olds are being handed devices of their own; 58% of Millennial parents tell YPulse they’ve given their children tablets, and 49% already say they’ve given them a smartphone.  

But a bargain for tech is not the same as a bargain for other products. Tech brands don’t give as many opportunities to get devices at a huge discount (without trading in an old device for credit), especially when they’re new, which is why… 

70% of Gen Z and Millennials agree "I will wait until a device is no longer new before buying it to get a better price."

There was once a time when a new device launch meant customers waiting for hours in lines outside the Apple store. It was such a sensationalized concept, but the reality is that these line-goers were hardly the majority of Gen Z and Millennial consumers. After all, these are the online shopping gens, who are clearly not in a huge rush to get every costly new piece of tech the day they launch. In fact, for the vast majority of young consumers, even if they want the newest device, they agree they wait until the device is no longer new in order to get it for a better price. And most are completely content with this decision, too: 67% of Gen Z and Millennials agree, “I’m happy to buy an older model phone, it doesn’t have to be the latest release.” On top of the price cut older phone models take with each new gen device added, young consumers also realize that the slightly older smartphones still give them access to the applications they use daily, so it’s not like they’re losing out on the functionality they want from a new phone.  

But certainly, the monetary hassle of getting the newest device is a contributing reason to why it just isn’t that important to young people anymore. In fact, some young consumers have even swung completely the other direction and begun embracing truly old tech like flip phones. And while yes, their nostalgic connection to the devices of the nineties and naughts is often centered around battling their social media addiction, it just emphasizes how they’re losing interest in having the newest and most advanced-feature-decked-out device possible. Really, they want something that keeps them connected (like phones were always meant to), and a phone that’s a couple models old does that just fine.  

63% of Gen Z and Millennials agree "A refurbished (used but professionally repaired) phone works just as well as a brand new one"

A step beyond buying a phone model that’s slightly outdated, young consumers also believe a refurbished (used but professionally repaired) phone works just as well as a brand new one. The discounted price is certainly the driving benefit behind buying refurbished tech, but there’s other factors that come as a bonus. Buying a used phone diverts a piece of tech from ending up in a landfill—and we know sustainability is important to these gens. In that way, YPulse’s Sustainability report shows that when we ask which eco-friendly products they have purchased or are interested in purchasing, 31% of young consumers tell us they’ve purchased a refurbished smartphone, and another 35% say they haven’t, but are interested in doing so.  

Resale is also popular across industries these days, meaning young consumers are more open than ever to buying a variety of items secondhand. In just the last few months, we’ve seen luxury become the focus of the resale boom, with retailers like Goodwill and eBay creating more authentication processes, and the secondhand watch industry looking like it could double in value by 2030. Clearly, having the newest products possible is just not a must to Gen Z and Millennials anymore, and their devices are not being exempt from their turn toward more affordable and sustainable choices across industries.