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Apple Continues to Lead the Global Refurbished Smartphone Market

1 x cover iPhone - refurbished market


Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Reveals they've expanded the use of Recycled Materials across its products while introducing 'Taz' a new Shredder-like Technology." Today we're learning that Apple has maintained its global leadership in the refurbished smartphone market.


Counterpoint reports that "The global secondary smartphone market saw a surge in demand as well as supply in 2021. Even as new smartphone shipments grew 4.5% YoY in 2021, refurbished smartphone volumes witnessed a 15% YoY growth, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Refurbished Smartphone Tracker. With new flagship smartphone prices remaining at the higher end, a larger share of consumers considered buying refurbished models of popular brands like Apple and Samsung.


As sustainability garnered more interest, consumers were exposed to more benefits of choosing a pre-owned device. Customer awareness of refurbished smartphones, certified pre-owned alternatives, quality checks in the secondary markets and warranty options increased during the year. Refurbished players too have matured since 2018 and are now scaling up for more volumes. Apple remains the secondary smartphone market leader.


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2 x stats refurbished smartphone market


Senior Counterpoint Analyst Glen Cardoza: "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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Research Director Jeff Fieldhackl: "The India and LATAM markets saw the highest growth rates in 2021 and also have the highest future potential growth over the next few years. There were supply shortages in the secondary market in 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdowns and other supply chain disruptions. But the market roared back in 2021. There are large consumer appetites for flagships and the latest flagships have the highest point-of-sale prices in India and LATAM. The secondary market offers consumers the ability to access these devices at ASPs 60% lower than new versions. The improved durability and high quality of flagships make them very appealing in the secondary market." 


Fieldhack added by noting that "The US and EU secondary markets bounced back in 2021. In the US, new Apple and Samsung flagship sales increased, which in turn increased the volumes of collected devices at carriers and other collection channels. On the consumption side, amid increasing insurance attach rates, the use of CPO (certified pre-owned) devices as insurance replacements increased during 2021. The B2B consumption of used devices also increased. In the EU, government initiatives are helping secondary market sales. Carriers are also making efforts to use more secondary market devices with e-waste reduction goals. Finally, EU marketplaces and collection companies – Back Market and EcoATM being examples – are growing their presence." For more on this, read the full Counterpoint report.


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