According to Counterpoint point, the global market for refurbished smartphones slowed to 1 percent year-over-year growth in 2018, reaching close to 140 million units.
The secondary industry slowed due to the 11 percent drop in new smartphone sales in key supply countries such as China and the United States. The drop in new device sales led to a decline in devices flowing into the secondary market.
However, this drop was partially offset by improvements in the secondary market’s ecosystem of the collection, grading, repairing, and online/offline selling.
Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the refurbished market with 70 percent share while Huawei is growing in popularity, especially in South East Asia.
Tom Kang, Research Director at Counterpoint Research highlighted, “The US and China markets saw lower upgrade cycles in 2018, which affected the flow of devices into the secondary market. In addition, China and US trade tensions held up devices in customs much longer than normal. This was especially true during the first half of the year.”
Kang added, “There were areas of growth. The India market grew 14 percent to almost 14 million refurbished devices. This is an impressive number because the refurbished market ecosystem remains nascent in the country and 72 percent of devices in India.
A higher percentage of refurbished devices were sold with warranty.
Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director at Counterpoint Research added, “For the refurbished market to expand in new markets, the grading system must be standardized and improved. This is especially true in emerging markets where there is limited oversight and limited protections for consumers if the quality is lower than advertised. There will be improvements as the industry is using new technologies such as artificial intelligence to predict device usability and lifespans.”