Apple’s sales in the market of refurbished smartphones in 2022 increased by 16% compared to last year – up to 49%.
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According to Counterpoint Research, the overall global aftermarket for smartphones grew by 5% year-on-year in 2022. The increase would have been even higher had it not been for the 17% drop in sales of refurbished smartphones in China – mainly due to the rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 and the government’s launch of the “Zero COVID policy”. Meanwhile, China’s woes helped India take the top spot with 19% year-on-year growth; it is followed by Latin America with an annual growth of 18%.
The most popular brand in the market of used and refurbished smartphones is Apple, which in 2022 “captured more than 49% of all sales. The company has long sold refurbished iPhones through its official channels, which are actually reassembled at factories. They come with new batteries and outer casings (with a one-year warranty) and a new cable, so they’re almost identical to a new iPhone in the box. Apple also provides regular software updates even for older models.
Samsung, on the other hand, recorded a drop in the secondary market from 28% in 2021 to 26% in 2022. Sales were affected by the fact that a small percentage of Android users switched to iOS during the year. The research firm said this trend will continue in 2023.
5G phones in 2022 received 13% of global sales of refurbished smartphones.
Counterpoint Research noted that a large share of consumers preferred to buy premium and flagship smartphones in the resurgent market in 2022, which led to an increase in average sales prices in the secondary market.
It seems that a large part of the push for customers to buy refurbished smartphones is the rising prices of new models – not just iPhones, but in general. Macroeconomic factors affecting business and jobs are also making the refurbished smartphone market more attractive.
The study predicts that the shift to premium smartphones could drive the stock of low-end smartphones in 2023. There are also likely to be job openings in the disassembly/reassembly, e-waste recycling or disposal industries.