In recent years, customers are increasingly turning to the option of purchasing used smartphones. At the same time, such a trend is observed almost independently of the market. Such data was obtained by research from Counterpoint Research.
It is noted that such a market showed growth of 5% last year, followed by 17% in 2021. In contrast, the market for new devices, decreased by 12%. Among used devices, buyers are increasingly favoring premium smartphones and flagship models, which has even led to an increase in average purchase price (ASP).
Factors influencing this trend include: increasing popularity of the trade-in model when purchasing new smartphones (record volumes in 2022); players engaged in recovery are refining their business models and improving marketing. This also led to an increase in the level of confidence of buyers in such offers.
It is worth noting separately the growth of the term of use of new smartphones. Due to the fact that users do not upgrade their gadgets as often, the market for used smartphones could be even higher. Also among the negative factors for this market were restrictions due to COVID-19 in certain regions.
As for brands, the leading position is retained by the iPhone, the share of sales of which increased by 5% and in general already accounts for almost half of the market — 49%. The second place remains for Samsung — 26% (down 2% compared to 2021). OPPO and vivo are also included – 3% for each brand, Huawei – 2%, and the remaining 17% is counted as “other manufacturers”. Part of Apple’s success in this segment, among other things, is considered to be the desire of users to switch to iOS after Android, which could have affected Samsung’s lower performance.
“Supply remains constrained as consumers are holding on to smartphones for longer. At the same time, demand for 5G is increasing, especially in mature markets like the US, Europe and Japan. In 2022, 5G made up 13% of global refurbished sales. The business potential of dealing in refurbished smartphones remains high, but the limited supply is affecting most emerging markets like LATAM, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. Imports from mature markets like the US, Europe, and Japan have reduced as they have to cater to their own demand. We are looking at a transition where most markets are growing their own repair and refurbishment ecosystems domestically. This is changing the trade routes and reducing China’s imports and exports. Domestic players everywhere are focusing on expansion, partnerships and additional supply avenues,” comments senior analyst Glen Cardoza.
Research director Jeff Fieldhak also noted that in most cases it is difficult for manufacturers to make the CPO model (Certified Pre-Owned) work better, although Apple has good success in selling refurbished smartphones: “It is very difficult to make the economics work on reselling CPO-grade devices.”