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2023

Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market

Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market Size, Share, Competitive Landscape and Trend Analysis Report by Type, by Price Range, by Application : Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2031

IC : Communication Services - Providers & Operators

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Author's: Tanmay Sharma| Mehul Thakkar | Onkar Sumant
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Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market Statistics: 2031

The global refurbished and used mobile phones market size was valued at $52 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $145.9 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 11.2% from 2022 to 2031.

Rise in consumer dependency on smartphone devices globally and increase in number of companies providing EMI options for phones drive the growth of the market. In addition, cost efficiency benefits associated with refurbished and used mobile phones fuel the growth of the market. However, the scarcity of top models and limitations in the warranty period of refurbished and used mobile phones limit the growth of the market. Conversely, rise in adaption of e-commerce platforms among buyers and sellers is anticipated to provide numerous opportunities for the expansion of the market during the forecast period.

Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market

A refurbished phone is a pre-owned handset that has been returned and restored to good working order so it can be resold. Not all phones described as refurbished are faulty. Some networks and retailers classify refurbished phones as handsets that were returned by users/customers who typically changed their minds within the 30-day cooling-off period after signing up for a contract. Tests carried out by the seller typically include whether the battery charges and checking the buttons and cameras work. The seller will also verify audio quality and screen responsiveness, as well as how the phone connects to Wi-Fi and 4G, and 5G.

The report focuses on growth prospects, restraints, and analysis of the global refurbished and used mobile phones market trends. The study provides Porter’s five forces analysis to understand the impact of various factors, such as bargaining power of suppliers, competitive intensity of competitors, the threat of new entrants, threat of substitutes, and bargaining power of buyers on the global refurbished and used mobile phones market share.

Top Impacting Factors

Rise in consumer dependency on smart phone devices globally

Rise in demand for consumer electronics through various sources such as online and offline sales channels, consumption of used and refurbished mobile phones has increased significantly over the upcoming years. Furthermore, the continuous use of smartphones has increased the need for constant device checking for professional and educational purposes. Whether checking Instagram, Facebook, email or perhaps sending a quick bill through a banking app, the time spent on smartphones is becoming more prevalent.

In addition, COVID-19's effects on the economy and the growing market for affordable smartphones increased the demand for refurbished and used mobile phones. Hence, key players undertook a large number of initiatives in form of introducing a range of refurbished phones to meet consumer demand. For instance, in November 2021, Huawei started selling certified refurbished premium smartphones in its official online store in China. As result, interested customers could easily buy high-end HUAWEI devices at reduced price tags. Further, these devices undergo strict ‘Huawei quality’ inspections that will offer a 1-year warranty claim. Also, the company has currently listed 8 models of refurbished smartphones for sale. Such factors have propelled the refurbished and used mobile phones market growth.

Increase in the number of companies providing EMI options for phone 

Buying refurbished mobiles from top brands such as Apple, one plus, Mi, Samsung, and Vivo by paying the full price together can affect savings for emergencies. However, purchasing used mobile phones on EMI ensures sufficient savings at all points in time. Furthermore, there has been an increase in the number of companies providing EMI options for mobile phones accessories, such as buy now pay later (BNPL) from merchants phone Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm, and others. Buy now pay later is becoming one of the fastest-growing online payment methods for buying refurbished devices. As refurbished and used mobiles are adopted by every income group at affordable rates and easy EMI options on their official websites, resellers are encouraged to sell and deliver phones at discounted rates.

For instance, in December 2022, Payment merchant Zest money introduced a no-cost EMI solution for buying a used mobile phone in installments with no extra cost. Hence, customers are rapidly shifting toward the adoption of refurbished phones for the latest models with no-cost EMI options. Such strategic initiatives will play a crucial role in expanding the growth outlook of the used and refurbished mobile phones market.

Segment Review

The refurbished and used mobile phones market is segmented into type, price range, application, and region. By type, the market is bifurcated into refurbished phones and used phones. By price range, it is divided into low-priced, mid-priced, and premium. By application, it is bifurcated into individuals and businesses. Region-wise, it is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market by Type

Depending on type, the refurbished phones segment dominated the refurbished and used mobile phones market share in 2022 and is expected to remain dominant during the forecast period, owing to increase in popularity of refurbished smartphones among end users consumers. Further, large number of key players offering refurbished mobile at affordable rates, along with an increase in the availability of different refurbished models is expected to influence the market growth during the forecast period. 

However, the used phones segment is expected to witness the highest refurbished and used mobile phones market growth in the upcoming years, owing to presence of range of options for selling a device in coming years. A large number of retail shops or second-hand device specialists are adopting the practice of selling used smartphones owing to the better profit margin. This drives refurbished and used mobile phones market growth.

Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market by Region

Region wise, the refurbished and used mobile phones market forecast was dominated by North America in 2021 and is expected to retain its position during the forecast period, owing to increased e-commerce sales, advancements in logistical services, and the simplicity of payment alternatives such as buy now pay later services have to contributed to the market’s growth, thereby driving the market growth across the Asia-Pacific region.

The global refurbished and used mobile phones industry is dominated by key players such as Apple Inc., Amazon, Samsung, Verizon Communications, Inc, Cashify, Walmart, eBay, Paytm, Huawei, AT&T Inc. These players have adopted various strategies to increase their market penetration and strengthen their position in the industry.

End User Adoption:

The end users are more expected to shift towards refurbished smartphones owing to the increasing concerns about a safe environment from electronic waste (or e-waste), which is one of the biggest environmental problems faced today. The term e-waste encompasses any device that uses a battery or electricity to function, from large household appliances such as fridges and washing machines to smartphones, tablets, and wearables. Estimates differ slightly, but the production of e-waste is 50 million metric tons every year. Around 10% of the total is made up of small electronics such as smartphones, and that percentage is expected to rise.

Further, growing awareness among consumers to lower the e-wastes is expected to boost the adoption of refurbished and used mobile phones. Furthermore, end-user adoption of refurbished and used mobile phones has increased in recent years due to several factors which include:

  • Cost savings: Refurbished and used phones are significantly cheaper compared to brand new devices, making them accessible to a wider range of consumers.
  • Environmental sustainability: The use of refurbished and used phones helps reduce e-waste and promote recycling.
  • Improved availability: The increasing demand for refurbished and used phones has resulted in a wider range of options and improved availability.
  • Improved quality: Advances in refurbishment processes have improved the quality of refurbished phones, making them more reliable and long-lasting.

However, some consumers may still have concerns about the reliability and performance of refurbished phones and may prefer to purchase new devices. Despite these challenges, the end-user adoption of refurbished and used mobile phones is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.

Digital Capabilities:

Digital capabilities in the refurbished and used smartphone market refers to the technology, features, and functionalities of refurbished and used devices. These capabilities can impact end-user adoption and demand for refurbished and used phones. Some of the key digital capabilities in the refurbished and used smartphone market include:

  • Operating System: The availability of up-to-date operating systems and software updates is important for end-users.
  • Hardware specs: The hardware specs of refurbished and used phones, such as processor speed, memory, and storage, affect the overall performance and user experience.
  • Camera quality: The camera quality is a key consideration for many end-users, as smartphones have become the primary device for capturing and sharing photos and videos.
  • Battery life: A good battery life is a crucial factor for end-users, especially for those who use their phone heavily throughout the day.
  • Connectivity: The availability of connectivity options, such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, is important for end-users to stay connected and productive.

Overall, the digital capabilities of refurbished and used smartphones play a crucial role in determining their end-user adoption and demand in the refurbished and used mobile phones market.

Government Initiatives:

Favorable government support and an increase in environmental consciousness among end-users impact the demand for the global refurbished and used mobile phone market. Globally, the government is making strategic efforts to intensify the use of refurbished mobiles and tablets due to the fact that e-waste generation is frequently growing all over the world. In addition, different regional governments often collaborate with institutes to increase awareness among people about refurbished smartphones and ensure that e-waste is precisely recycled. For instance, in March 2022, the Indian Government collaborated with one of the premier research institutions, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to develop several highly energy-efficient and cost-effective e-waste recycling technologies, making them commercially viable. Hence, the increase in government role for monitoring e-waste generation and efforts to reduce the e-waste amount is expected to influence the  market growth.

Furthermore, the constant upgradation and faster obsolescence of smartphones make consumers discard their new products quickly. As a result, there is large accumulation of e-waste is witnessed worldwide, especially due to fast-growing ICT. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, e-waste is the fastest-growing stream in India with generation of 3.2 million tons of e-waste a year, and therefore, making the third largest after China and the U.S. This further propelled the interest of government to promote the use and adoption of refurbished and used smartphone with other electronic products, which in turn, driving the refurbished and used mobile phones market growth over the forecast period. 

Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market Report Highlights

Aspects Details
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Market Size By 2031

USD 145.9 billion

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Growth Rate

CAGR of 11.2%

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Forecast period

2021 - 2031

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Report Pages

273

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By Type
  • Refurbished Phone
  • Used Phone
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By Price Range
  • Low Price (Below $200)
  • Mid Price ($200 to $500)
  • Premium (Above $500)
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By Application
  • Individual
  • Businesses
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By Region
  • North America  (U.S., Canada)
  • Europe  (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Rest of Europe)
  • Asia-Pacific  (China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Rest of Asia-Pacific)
  • LAMEA  (Latin America, Middle East, Africa)
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Key Market Players

Amazon.com, Inc., Apple Inc., eBay, AT&T Inc., cashify, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Verizon Communications, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Walmart, Paytm

Analyst Review

Refurbished and used products continue to provide consumers and organizations looking to purchase smartphones at a discount an affordable alternative. Phones can also be insured with a receipt for the purchase. This significantly reduces consumer hesitation to buy used equipment. For example, Samsung sells certified pre-owned devices, typically at least one model-year-old, at solid discounts while getting a full one-year warranty.

Key players in the refurbished and used mobile phones market are Apple Inc., Amazon, Samsung, Verizon Communications, Inc, Cashify, Walmart, eBay, Paytm, Huawei and AT&T Inc. Various companies have launched various solutions to provide enhanced services with the growth in demand for consumer electronics solutions. For instance, In January 2020, Walmart launched the In-Store pilot program to sell refurbished iPhones, iPads, & other Apple devices in around 30 of its brick-and-mortar stores. Stores participating in the program are selling goTRG-certified refurbished Apple products with a one-year warranty. Such factors are projected to boost the refurbished and used mobile phones market.

In addition, the demand increased for refurbished smartphone especially during pandemic period. Many key players introduced strategies such as product launch acquisition, and collaboration to provide better and enhanced digital process automation services. For instance, to diversify and expand its association with offline retailers, in July 2021, Cashify helped offline retailers sell refurbished smartphones online. Cashify also acquired Uni-Shop, which is an omnichannel retail solution platform, to enable businesses to start a full-fledged online store. This new service line will be rebranded as Phone-Shop. Such collaborations boost the growth of the refurbished and used mobile phones market.

Author Name(s) : Tanmay Sharma| Mehul Thakkar | Onkar Sumant
Frequently Asked Questions?

The refurbished and used mobile phones market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 11.2% from 2022 to 2031.

The refurbished and used mobile phones market is projected to reach $145.87 billion by 2031.

Rise in consumer dependency on smartphone devices globally, and increase in the number of companies providing EMI options for phone contribute toward the growth of the market.

The key players profiled in the report include Apple Inc., Amazon, Samsung, Verizon Communications, Inc, Cashify, Walmart, eBay, Paytm, Huawei, and AT&T Inc.

The key growth strategies of refurbished and used mobile phones market players include product portfolio expansion, mergers & acquisitions, agreements, geographical expansion, and collaborations.

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Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market

Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2031