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One million Australians got a new mobile phone as a gift (and half a mil were handed a hand-me-down)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, October 2013–September 2014, n = 14,556 Australian mobile phone owners 14+

This Christmas, will there be a brand new Samsung Galaxy under the tree—or a well-used iPhone 4 in the stocking? Almost 1.5 million Australians (14+) use a mobile phone that was given to them as a gift—whether new or used—representing 8.3% of all mobile phone owners, data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

Close to a million recipients (65%) were handed a brand new handset, with the remainder (35%) given a used model. A third of Australians aged 14 to 17 got their current phone as a gift—73% of whom got a brand new phone.

One in eight 18-24 year-olds were given their current phone as a present, followed by one in 11 mobile owners aged over 65. However these older recipients are around 38% more likely than those under 25 to be presented with a used phone.

6.1% of 25-34 year-old mobile owners, 5.7% of owners 50-64 and just 4.4% of those 35-49 received their phone given as a gift.

% of Australian mobile owners who received their phone as a gift

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, October 2013–September 2014, n = 14,556 Australian mobile phone owners 14+

Women are around 60% more likely than men to be given a phone—and it’s more likely to be new: 10.2% of women owners got their phone as a gift (and 68% were new), compared with 6.3% of men who got presented a phone (of which 59% were new).

Apple’s iPhone is the most bestowed handset brand overall—but Samsung is the brand most often bought and given new. 

476,000 current iPhone users were given the handset as a gift, but less than half of these phones (232,000) were new. The rest (244,000) were bequeathed second-hand—presumably often when the original owner upgraded to a new Apple model or switched brand.

So while fewer Samsung owners overall were given their phone (368,000), the vast majority of these (280,000) were new gifts.

Tim Martin, General Manager - Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Mobile phone makers have been less inclined than other technology brands to release latest product offerings ‘just in time for Christmas’. Although other devices like tablets and gaming consoles are more suited to a position under the tree, there are still opportunities for phone retailers to cash in on the season of giving.

“Especially among younger Australians, there remain many who receive their phones as gifts. The release of the iPhone 6 in September may have resulted in many tweens and teens being told to be patient and expect a small square box under the tree on Christmas morning.

“With the new Samsung Galaxy S6 not due to be released until early next year, this may have given the latest iPhone an edge on Santa’s sleigh.”

To understand how to reach Australians with different attitudes toward technology, contact:

Vaishali Nagaratnam
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5309

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%