Companies like Motorola may occasionally make unrealistic promises about “shatterproof” smartphone displays, but the ugly truth is mobile devices in general have actually become more fragile in recent years in addition to prettier and pricier.

While “Bendgate” scandals are a thing of the past, cracking both the screen and rear cover of most high-end handsets out there right now is as simple as dropping them on the floor or pavement.

That apparently happens way more often than you imagine, at least in the US, according to some new research conducted by SquareTrade. The company, self-described as a “highly rated protection plan provider trusted by millions of customers”, found in its latest surveys that a whopping 66 percent of smartphone owners damaged their devices over the past year, with 29 percent of those incidents concerning cracked screens.

Scratched screens and nonworking batteries followed closely as the second and third most frequent types of damage, with touchscreen issues and chipped corners/sides tied at 16 percent in fourth place.

By far the most staggering stat shared by SquareTrade is the number of phone screens broken last year in the US alone, leading to a grand total of $3.4 billion in replacement costs. Believe it or not, more than 50 million screens were purportedly cracked in just 12 months. Yup, nearly two every second. 5,761 an hour. 

That’s beyond crazy, but what may not surprise you as much is that 38 percent of smartphone owners with a cracked screen never get them fixed. Most people prefer to hang on to their devices as long as they’re functional (at least in part), often upgrading to a new phone when the damage gets bad rather than paying an arm and a leg for a screen replacement.

The problem is users often have unrealistic expectations about official repair costs, while also settling for standard protection plans that don’t cover accidental damage. Cases are rare as well and sometimes ineffective, making this a complicated issue that’s unlikely to be fixed anytime soon. Of course, manufacturers lowering repair fees and improving device robustness would be a pretty good start.

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