According to the International Data Corporation, we will see significant growth in the market for used and refurbished smartphones in 2020. Indeed, you and I could both be using a used smartphone in four years or so.
In the US, most carriers, manufacturers, and retailers already offer trade-in deals. This sort of strategy is slowly becoming more mainstream in Europe and Asia as well. The advantage is that these used phones are officially sold as refurbished devices for significantly less. Companies like Apple already have a separate section for refurbished sales, and rumor has it Samsung is to follow suit in the near future. Not only that, second hand smartphone markets are growing considerably in the US. Just have a look at websites like Swappa or eBay, and you have a myriad of used Android and iOS devices for a fraction of the original cost.
Well, according to the IDC, that trend will continue to grow into 2020: in 2015, 81.3 million used devices were shipped, and that figure is expected to grow to 222.6 million devices in 2020. That is 22.3 percent in compound annual growth rate. Of the 222.6 million used devices, 55.2 million are expected to be in North America. Compare that to 15.2 million shipments in 2015, we see that the increase in growth will be more substantial here.
In 2015, 81.3 million used devices were shipped, and that figure is expected to grow to 222.6 million devices in 2020.
As Anthony Scarsella, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Phone program explains:
The demand for refurbished smartphones is already becoming constrained in countries such as the United States. Mobile operators are the most constrained given the need for replacement devices for customers who have purchased device insurance plans. In addition, used handsets provide an additional option for customers with subprime credit making them ineligible for equipment installment plans. With the average selling price for a used device expected to be $136 in 2020, the total market value for used devices in 2020 will be an estimated $30 billion.
Have you ever bought a used or refurbished smartphone? Let us know by leaving a comment below!