Americans lost $30 billion worth of mobile phones in 2011

By on March 23, 2012, 2:00 PM

Americans lost nearly $30 billion worth of mobile phones in 2011 according to a new study from mobile security firm Lookout. Globally, over $7 million worth of handsets are lost each day and that number only increases on special occasions.

During Christmas, people lost nearly $11 million worth of phones and on New Years, that figure jumped to $14 million. And if you live in Philadelphia, Seattle, Oakland, Long Beach or Newark (in that order), the odds of losing your handset are even higher. On average, Philadelphia and Seattle residents lose their phones twice a year. Those living in Austin, however, only lose a phone once every four years on average.

Lookout’s study found that users are most likely to misplace their cellular in coffee shops, drugstores / pharmacies, church and at the gas station – and the chances are greater at night. If you live in New York,  you’ll likely misplace your phone at a fast-food restaurant.

Data for the study was comprised from 15 million users that have downloaded the company’s app on their handset. Lookout says they were able to locate roughly 9 million phones last year, or about 17 phones every minute.

Kevin Haley, product management director for Symantec notes that losing a phone can be a very costly experience. In addition to the $200 to $300 price of the hardware, many users don’t password-protect their devices which makes it very easy for someone else to access all of their personal information including e-mail, texts and contacts.

iOS users can utilize the built-in password feature and Find My iPhone feature to secure and help locate a lost phone. Android users are encouraged to check out apps such as the one from Lookout or another called Where’s My Droid.

Phone picture from Shutterstock.




User Comments: 20

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Jesse Jesse said:

That is a ridiculous number of phones. People are dumb.

spectrenad said:

holy s*** really? that's a lot, i mean, A LOT...

Tygerstrike said:

I see it everyday. Ppl lose their phone then complain on how much a replacment handset costs. They then start screaming about how they only paid xxxx dollars for the phone they lost and why is a new phone so expensive. Heres a hint.....always try and get the best handset insurance you can. the 6-10$ a month is cheap for any carrier insurance.And it can either be put on your bill or credit/debit card. Most will cover lost phones if you have the correct plan. Remember that phone insurance is like car insurance. If you only get "liability" and drive your car into a lake youre not covered. Always cover your a$$. Get the insurance that protects you against lost or stolen and accidental damage. It may cost a bit upfront but well worth it when the poo hits the fan!

Guest said:

Wow i tink im going to head to filly and get me a free phone!!!

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

Tygerstrike said:

I see it everyday. Ppl lose their phone then complain on how much a replacment handset costs. They then start screaming about how they only paid xxxx dollars for the phone they lost and why is a new phone so expensive. Heres a hint.....always try and get the best handset insurance you can. the 6-10$ a month is cheap for any carrier insurance.And it can either be put on your bill or credit/debit card. Most will cover lost phones if you have the correct plan. Remember that phone insurance is like car insurance. If you only get "liability" and drive your car into a lake youre not covered. Always cover your *****. Get the insurance that protects you against lost or stolen and accidental damage. It may cost a bit upfront but well worth it when the poo hits the fan!

My insurance AT&T, only covers your phone replacement for 30 days....

Then I cancel it..

Why pay for something, that does not cover after 30 days....??...hmmm...

I did I mention AT&T s**** big time...

It Cost's $00.01 cents to send a text....

it Cost's $00.01 cents to send an image with a text....

They are so over charging people, it should be a crime...

Only lost 1 phone, off my Harley on the highway, it was a free phone when i upgraded, got new phone, the really cheap one... $29.00

So if I lose it it aint a pain...

Guest said:

Imagine how much money was 'lost' buying the things.

Guest said:

Just as well my Windows Phone allows me to locate it, lock it, make it ring, display a message on the screen, AND erase personal data, all from the WP website.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Americans lost nearly $30 billion worth of mobile phones in 2011 according to a new study from mobile security firm Lookout. Globally, over $7 million worth of handsets are lost...

A guest straightened me out about this. Go figure.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've had a mobile phone for 14 years and not lost one yet, unless you count water damage or upgrades as a loss.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Eh, people are retarded. They honestly dont care that they are a builder and buying an iphone which will last them 3 months. And, screw it, let's get so drunk we lose our phones and ruin all our clothes.

So wasteful..

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Eh, people are retarded. They honestly dont care that they are a builder and buying an iphone which will last them 3 months. And, screw it, let's get so drunk we lose our phones and ruin all our clothes.

So wasteful..

Judging by the numbers, (if they're correct), the US is the only country in the world that can insure their cell phones.

treetops treetops said:

with verizons insurance it cost me 100$ to replace my phone lost phone

i no longer use verizon

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Judging by the numbers, (if they're correct), the US is the only country in the world that can insure their cell phones.

Australia offers insurance too. Fairly expensive, $12/mth if I remember right. Its big business, because people here are freaking useless - every second iPhone I see has smashed screen.

Guest said:

captaincranky..

The author said "Americans lost nearly $30 billion worth of mobile phones in 2011."

Then continued with "Globally, over $7 million worth of handsets are lost each day and that number only increases on special occasions."

One is daily, the other is annually...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

captaincranky..

The author said "Americans lost nearly $30 billion worth of mobile phones in 2011."

Then continued with "Globally, over $7 million worth of handsets are lost each day and that number only increases on special occasions."

One is daily, the other is annually...

Ooops....I can't read, used to work for the post office...Plus it was late, may have been intoxicated. No, excuses though, thanks for the catch..

It does bespeak the question, "what are the special occasions, "Lose Your Phone Day"? Hm, perhaps, "Drive Around Talking on the Phone Day", so the police will be compelled to take it off you... Maybe, "Throw your Phone in the River, and Report it Stolen Day "!

Although, if you multiply 7,000,000 times 365, you come up with 2.55 Billion. When posed against the US phone loss figure, the disparity is still astounding....The math there say we lose almost 12 times the cellphones as the entire rest of the world....

Guest said:

Wonder how many third world countries that could feed for a year.

Makes it hard to have pride in being American.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Wonder how many third world countries that could feed for a year.

Makes it hard to have pride in being American.

Many, "third world countries", are needy simply by virtue of the fact they haven't developed the technology to become not needy. If you're like the Massai, and want to drink cow urine and blood from gourds, while sitting around year after year waiting for rain, God bless you, but it's understandable why you don't have a lot of cell phones.

In short, don't hate on American simply because we've had our successful industrial, and our technological revolutions.

So, in truth, I could care less about the "third world", and it makes me prouder to be an American.

Here's my position, the hell with having a cellphone, period. "Use a land line, starve a telecommunications company", that's what I always say. Avoid pissing your money away being followed by electronic tracking devices. Spend the saved money on yourself though, not today's "cause celebre".

Sounds callous, right? Well, a further truth of the matter is, I'm also not some camera w***e of a celebrity, that makes a career out of having my picture taken while I"m in the process of, "caring deeply".

I'm also not a guest poster trying to attach some momentous social observation, to a fluff tech article..

Make no mistake, I'm well capable of going that route. What remains is the fact I'm not a guest poster, and I'm calling you on idoing so....

TekGun TekGun said:

Surely they used copyright maths to get those figures.

ikesmasher said:

People use their phones so much and they lose them?

lol. Ive never actually lost a phone my whole life.

30 billion dollars worth of phones...

Imagine one of us responsible people getting that much money.

Guest said:

You are good to do the math, and note the obvious contradiction in the numbers. However, the result ISN'T that everybody is losing their phones, the correct conclusion is that the claimed amounts are ridiculously OVERSTATED by a company that wants to make money off the lost phones stream.

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