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The Current and Future of Refurbished Phones Market


The Current and Future of Refurbished Phones Market
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It is valid question to ask why traders should focus on selling refurbished devices?

The answer is because the global Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market size surpassed USD 57.5 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach USD 131.5 Bn by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 10.9 % during the forecast period. If you are a trader and sell phones, wouldn’t you want to be part of the fastest growing segment of the mobile phones?

According to the analysis of the International Data Corporation (IDC) report:

  • Worldwide shipments of used mobile phones surpassed 300 million units in 2023
  • The amount reflects an 15.6% increase over the 253.4 million units shipped in 2021
  • As many as 58% of these mobile devices (203 million units) required repair, refurbishment and resale in 2022 and 2023
  • Refurbished market to increase from the current $57.5 billion to $131.5 by 2029
  • Additional 810 million smartphones could be released into the refurbished market because of 5G adoption

10 reasons to focus on trading refurbished phones are:

  1. 5G adoption: the growth of the refurbished phones market is driven by the fast adoption of 5G around the world. Because every consumer that upgrades to 5G will have a 4G phone to recycle – and an army of aspiring 4G subscribers will be waiting to buy them. According to a study by data security company, Blancco, 68% of 5G customers say they will trade in their used devices. As a result, 810 million smartphones could be released into the refurbished market. This is the latest factor fueling the demand for refurbished devices.
  2. High cost of flagship smartphones: refurbished phones is a cost-effective option for people who want a high-quality phone but don’t want to pay full price for a brand-new device.
  3. Longer upgrade cycles: phones are more reliable than ever, which means they retain their resale value for longer.
  4. The Right-to-Repair movement: across the world, lawmakers are launching regulationsto make it easier for customers to repair products – and for manufacturers to extend guarantees. This is extending product lifecycles.
  5. Growing markets for recycled phones in developing countries: as 4G reaches more regions, customers are moving on from feature phones. This is fueling a market for affordable smartphones. The refurbished and used mobile phone markets in LATAM (Latin America), China, Europe, and India are growing rapidly as consumers in these regions look for cost-effective ways to stay connected with the latest mobile technology.
  6. Rising demand from credit excluded customers: every market includes a segment of customers who cannot get credit and are therefore unable to take advantage of carrier repayment deals on new phones.
  7. Growing popularity of e-commerce platforms: such platforms grow fast and improve customer experience in Europe, Americas, Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It will drive the demand for the refurbished phones in coming 5 years.
  8. Environment friendly industry: refurbishing phones is an environmentally friendly way to reduce e-waste and CO2. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations for the next 6 years and the COP2028 are pushing towards green ecosystems and managing waste in a more efficient way to help save the earth. Green companies will move more towards refurbished devices to achieve the SDGs they have. According to a study by the University of Texas, the production of a refurbished iPhone generates just 15-20% of the CO2 emissions of a new one. This is because much of the energy and resources that go into the production of a new phone are saved when a refurbished phone is purchased.
  9. Government initiatives to support refurbished and used mobile phones market: governments are increasingly recognizing the need to promote the use of refurbished mobile phones and tablets as a way to reduce e-waste and promote sustainable consumption patterns in accordance with their SDGs. Many governments are implementing policies and programs aimed at promoting the use of refurbished mobile phones and tablets. For example, in the EU, the Circular Economy Package includes measures to promote the repair and refurbishment of electronic devices, including mobile phones and tablets. Similarly, in the US, the Sustainable Materials Management Program includes initiatives to promote the reuse and recycling of electronic devices, including smartphones and tablets.
  10. Limited Availability: despite the huge demand, the availability of A+ certified pre-owned (CPO) phones is limited. Some models may not be available in the used phone market, or they may sell out quickly. This could make it difficult for customers who are looking for a specific device. Having more refurbished phones will increase the availability of the A+ grade devices in the market and next to suitability, will provide inclusivity.