The global secondary (second-hand) smartphone market saw 15 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in 2021 even as new smartphone shipments grew 4.5 per cent, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Refurb Smartphone Tracker. The research firm largely attributed this growth to the high prices of flagship phones pushing customers towards buying refurbished models of popular brands like Apple and Samsung.
Apple maintained its lead in the secondary smartphone market even as Samsung made gains. Customer awareness about refurbished devices, certified pre-owned alternatives, quality checks in the secondary markets and warranty options also increased during the year, contributing to this growth.
“Refurbished smartphones are a part of overall pre-owned devices which re-enter the system through various routes. Trade-ins are the fastest-growing source for such pre-owned smartphones, the volume of which grew more than 10% globally in 2021. We are seeing a year-on-year increase in volumes among refurb players in developing markets like China, India, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa,” Glen Cardoza, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research said in a press statement.
The Latin American and Indian markets lead with the highest growth rates at 29 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. Even the American, Chinese and European markets displayed strong growth in volume from 2020. The Indian and Latin American markets also have the highest potential for growth over the next few years.
Demand was curtailed in 2020 due to supply shortages arising from Covid-19 lockdowns and other supply chain disruptions but the new figures show that the market roared back to life in 2021.
Flagship phones, especially the latest ones, had the highest point-of-sale prices in India and Latin America, with the secondary market offering customers the opportunity to purchase one-to-three-year-old flagships at Average Selling Price (ASP) 40 to 70 per cent lower than new versions.