One in four Brits thinks it is essential to have the latest ‘must-have’ model of phone, according to a survey into consumer buying habits.

The research commissioned by Quidco revealed that the figure increases further among iPhone users to 37%, with battery life one of the most important deciding factors.

A fifth of consumers said they would purchase the handset outright, while 12% would start a new contract without finishing the previous one, just to have the latest model.

Around 8% of people would even pay to exit their existing contract early in order to upgrade their handsets.

The finances required to achieve such a switch mean that many consumers choose to trade in phones following release dates.

For example, iPhone trade-ins increased by 238% following the launch of a new model in 2013, according to Comparemymobile.

Important customer considerations

The key considerations for those making new purchases revolved around battery life, having a phone that is easy to use and finding those on offer with the most lucrative contracts.

Samsung is marginally ahead of Apple when it comes to the nation’s most popular phones while London is the iPhone capital of the UK, with 39% of the population owning one.

Only 23% of the population has avoided the smartphone revolution, although there is widespread variation among different age groups.

Only 6% of those aged 18 to 34 do not have a smartphone, compared to 42% of those aged 55 or over – which points to a smartphone monopoly on the market.

Despite this, a poll form Saga Home Insurance suggested that 88% of those aged over 50 have at least one digital gadget – whether it is a laptop, Smartphone or tablet.

Managing finances and contracts

Many smartphones and contracts do not come cheap, so saving funds to purchase a new model should be done in advance, to lessen the financial impact.

One way of ensuring that funds are available might be to load up a prepaid card with funds to be used solely for the purchase of a phone and accompanying contract.

Since only the funds on the card can be spent, it is a great way to track phone spending while preventing a consumer from purchasing a device that they do not have the funds for.

A prepaid card does not have to be used for solely one purpose though, as it could be used for purchases online or in retail outlets.

Withdrawing cash from an ATM is also possible, while updates can be sent to phones in order to track spending – ideal for those looking to budget carefully.