Global refurbished smartphone market records 15% YoY growth in 2021

Counterpoint, a well-known global research group, has reported a 15% YoY increase in refurbished smartphone volumes in 2021, citing a rise in the secondary smartphone industry. In the refurbished smartphone market, Apple continues to be the market leader. Secondary smartphone sales are increasing in developing regions such as China, India, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Latin America and India lead with the highest growth rates, at 29% and 25%, respectively. Even the US, China and Europe have shown a strong growth in volumes compared to 2020.

According to the research, there are several causes for the rapid increase, including consumer awareness of sustainability, home and hybrid work models, ongoing component shortages, and so on. The secondary market allows buyers to obtain these devices for ASPs (Average Selling Price) that are 60% lower than those of new versions. Furthermore, people’s enthusiasm in 5G upgrades results in more smartphone trade-ins to the secondary smartphone business.

Factors for the growth
Factors for the Growth

Commenting on the growth in pre-owned and refurbished volumes, Senior Analyst Glen Cardoza said,

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 YoY increase in volumes among refurbished players in developing markets like China, India, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. These markets will grow more as they have many unorganized businesses and a large rural demographic yet to be captured. ASPs (average selling prices) of refurbished smartphones increased marginally as 4G devices still retained value.


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