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2023 Global Smartphone Shipments to Hit Lowest Level in Almost a Decade

  • Global smartphone shipments in 2023 are expected to shrink by 5% YoY to reach 1.2 billion.
  • However, the shipments are expected to increase by 3% YoY in Q4 2023.
  • The iPhone 15 Pro series’ share in the overall iPhone 15 series is projected to increase to 65% in Q4 2023.
  • India will become Apple’s new growth focus, but the brand’s underperformance in China will hinder its growth in 2024.

London, San Diego, Seoul, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong – November 30, 2023

Global smartphone shipments in 2023 are projected to decline 5% YoY to reach 1.2 billion, the lowest level in almost a decade, according to Counterpoint Research’s Smartphone 360 Global Smartphone Shipment Forecast. However, the shipments are expected to increase by 3% YoY in Q4 2023 to reach 312 million units.

North America (NAM) and Europe’s shipments are expected to remain stagnant. But China and emerging markets such as the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and India have managed to break out from their declines and will recover to become the new drivers of growth in the smartphone market from Q4 2023 onwards.

Apple, the usual market leader in Q4 with its newly launched series, is expected to record a volume decline of 3% YoY in Q4 2023, mainly due to Huawei’s aggressive expansion in China and prolonged delay in smartphone upgrades in Japan. However, Apple will try to offset the underperformance in volume terms by growing in value terms with a better product mix. In Q4 2022, the shipment share of the iPhone 14 Pro series in the entire iPhone 14 series was 61%. In Q4 2023, however, the iPhone 15 Pro series’ portion in the iPhone 15 series is projected to increase to 65%.

Global Smartphone Market Shipments, 2013-2024F

Global Smartphone Market Shipments, 2013-2024F
Source: Counterpoint Research

After destocking efforts end with a relatively healthy inventory by the year-end, smartphone shipments in 2024 are projected to grow by 3% YoY. We can also expect a recovery focused on emerging markets, backed by increasing consumer confidence and improving macroeconomic conditions.

Apple will be just in line with the market growth in 2024 while facing pressures in its traditional markets. The retention of high interest rates in the US, which hit consumer spending, and intensifying competition in China’s premium smartphone market, mainly due to Huawei, are expected to hinder Apple’s growth throughout 2024.

Huawei, driven by its newly launched Mate 60 5G series and older P-series 4G devices, recorded an enormous success in Q3 2023. Assuming that Huawei can expand the production of its Kirin SoCs via partnerships, the brand is expected to continue to grow 37% YoY in 2024.

Associate Director Liz Lee said, “India, maintaining its momentum for premiumization, is expected to become Apple’s new growth focus. Apple’s India shipments are predicted to grow 23% YoY in 2024. However, due to its underperformance against Huawei in China, Apple’s global market share will unavoidably decline slightly YoY in Q4 2023 and across 2024.”

Background

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

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Fairphone’s Path to the Top of the Sustainability Pyramid

Today, on Thursday 14th September 2023, sales began of the most environmentally friendly smartphone ever made: the Fairphone 5. To mark the occasion, Counterpoint Research has just published a profile report on Fairphone, which looks into Fairphone’s performance as a sustainability pioneer over the last year, and assesses its future prospects. Here are some of the highlights.

Fairphone is the pioneer of smartphone circularity

Fairphone is undoubtably the most sustainable smartphone company in the world, and is a pioneer of smartphone circularity. Through all three stages of the smartphone circular economy – production, use and end of life – Fairphone has developed initiatives that increase the sourcing and use of sustainable materials, maximise the lifespan of its devices and minimise e-waste, while maintaining ethical business practises.

In terms of production, sustainability is at the core of the design, with market leading use of sustainable materials and an innovative modular design. The latter is key to Fairphone’s party piece: the ability for the user to do simple repairs and battery swaps, by themselves at home with some basic tools. This extends the life of the device, helped by a five-year warranty and market leading software support (five years for Fairphone 4, extended to eight years for Fairphone 5). All in all, Fairphone incentivises people to use their phone for longer. And finally, when it comes to the end of a device’s life, Fairphone refurbishes and re-sells old phones, or re-uses/recycles their parts. In addition, Fairphone is e-waste neutral, where for each phone sold, a used phone is given a new life or an equivalent amount of e-waste is recycled).

Circularity summary for Fairphone

Others are taking sustainability seriously, and are catching up

With these initiatives, Fairphone sets the benchmark against which other manufacturers should be compared. In an ideal world, all smartphones would be made the Fairphone way, and indeed, one of Fairphone’s goals is to motivate and encourage other smartphone OEMs to adopt more sustainable business models.

But this is easier said than done. It is one thing to create a sustainable smartphone when you are producing two models at any one time and selling 116,000 of them a year. It is entirely another thing to replicate that when you have hundreds of models in your portfolio and sell hundreds of millions of phones a year.

Nevertheless, consumers are becoming increasingly aware and concerned about their environmental impact, so sustainability amongst smartphone OEMs will become more and more important. By blazing the sustainability trail and showing others what can be achieved, Fairphone can influence larger players, such as Samsung and Apple but especially most Chinese OEMs who are sustainability laggards, to up their game and move the industry in a fairer direction.

Of course, as others improve, Fairphone’s USP may diminish. Fairphone could end up being the architect of its own downfall.

The full report is available here.

Refurbished iPhone Volumes Grew 16% YoY Globally in 2022

  • Refurbished smartphone sales grew 5% globally but China saw a 17% YoY decline.
  • Apple captured 49% of the global refurbished smartphone market in 2022 followed by Samsung at 26%.
  • India led the market with 19% YoY growth, followed closely by LATAM with 18% YoY growth.
  • 5G is growing in the secondary markets. It now makes up 13% of global refurbished sales.

London, Hong Kong, Boston, Denver, Toronto, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – April 24, 2023

With the demand for refurbished smartphones continuing to grow across most geographies, the global secondary smartphone market grew 5% YoY in 2022, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Refurb Smartphone Tracker. The growth would have been more if not for the 17% decline in China’s refurbished smartphone sales. This was the steepest drop for the Chinese secondary market in years. A resurgence of COVID-19 and introduction of “COVID-Zero” policies were the major factors affecting business and demand in the country. India led the global refurbished smartphone market in 2022 with 19% YoY growth, followed closely by LATAM with 18% YoY growth.

In terms of brands, Apple’s global volumes grew 16% YoY in 2022, taking its secondary market share to over 49%. Apple is the fastest-growing brand in the used and refurbished sectors globally. This secondary market demand is affecting new iPhone sales and service revenues in many markets. Apple is a major contributor to the increasing refurbished share as compared to the new smartphone shipments in main markets. The supply crunch is mainly felt for iPhones in refurbished markets.

Samsung’s share decreased to 26% in 2022 from 28% in 2021. Within the secondary market, there was a small percentage shift of Android consumers to iOS in 2022, which affected Samsung refurbished sales. This trend will likely continue in 2023.

New Smartphone vs Refurbished Smartphone Growth 2019 2022
Source: Global Refurbished Smartphone Tracker

Source: Global Refurbished Smartphone Tracker

Refurbished smartphone demand is mainly coming from:

  • New smartphone buyers (mature markets)
  • Feature phone users shifting to smartphones (emerging markets)
  • Unofficial channels dependent on C2C or hand-me-downs

While the supply is mainly coming from:

  • Refurbished smartphone retailers (growing the most)
  • Carriers have started offering refurbished options but mainly in mature markets.
  • OEMs are struggling to collect and resell refurbished smartphones.

A larger share of consumers preferred to buy premium and flagship refurbished smartphones compared to previous years, pushing up secondary market ASPs (average selling prices). 2022 also saw many new smartphone consumers shifting their focus towards sustainability and environmental awareness.

Trust levels towards refurbished smartphones increased across markets. Evolved business models and effective marketing strategies were adopted by refurbished players in most markets. Trade-in volumes were higher than ever.

In contrast, new smartphone holding periods grew globally. ASPs of new smartphones continued to increase, pushing consumers to hold onto their devices for longer. This continuing trend has hurt the supply of secondary market devices.

Transport, trade and logistics on global trade routes were affected mainly by main hubs like China shutting down in 2022. Supply levels fell, especially for Grade A refurbished smartphones.

Commenting on the growth in refurbished volumes, Senior Analyst Glen Cardoza said, “The global refurbished markets are going through transitions. Supply remains constrained as consumers are holding on to smartphones for longer. At the same time, demand for 5G is increasing, especially in mature markets like the US, Europe and Japan. In 2022, 5G made up 13% of global refurbished sales. The business potential of dealing in refurbished smartphones remains high, but the limited supply is affecting most emerging markets like LATAM, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. Imports from mature markets like the US, Europe and Japan have reduced as they have to cater to their own demand. We are looking at a transition where most markets are growing their own repair and refurbishment ecosystems domestically. This is changing the trade routes and reducing China’s imports and exports. Domestic players everywhere are focusing on expansion, partnerships and additional supply avenues.”

Top OEMs Refurbished iPhone & Smartphone Market Share
Source: Global Refurbished Smartphone Tracker

Commenting on the carrier and retailer dynamics in mature markets, Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “Large players within the secondary market ecosystem fared better than small players because the large players got better supply in a supply-constrained year. Global carriers and their partners are collecting higher volumes, gaining more power in the secondary market. The other key dynamic of certified pre-owned volumes (CPO) declined in 2022. Counterpoint’s research shows that consumers prefer a lower cost even if they have to deal with slightly more imperfection in the device. On the handset OEM side, outside of Apple, it is very difficult to make the economics work on reselling CPO-grade devices.”

While domestic infrastructure is being built, most upcoming refurbished players are concentrating on building their B2B channels. Growth was a bit more erratic for businesses in 2022 as there was no pent-up demand like in 2021. Apple’s iPhones remained the most sought-after smartphones due to the brand perception, high margins, and high inventory turnover ratios.

What we can expect in 2023

A lot of the changes in the secondary markets in 2022 will spill into 2023. 5G smartphone share will increase substantially and 4G smartphones may lose their value at a faster rate in 2023. The increased trade-ins and shift towards premium smartphones may bring about a situation where the inventory of low-grade used smartphones may grow significantly. End-of-life activities like disassembly, logistics, warehousing, recycling and e-waste disposal should see additional opportunities. IT asset disposition (ITAD) businesses could see a better outlook, too.

Feel free to contact us at press@counterpointresearch.com for questions regarding our latest research and insights.

Background

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts

Glen Cardoza

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Apple Refurbished ASPs Witnessing a Shift in US Due to 5G

  • Even as older iPhone models lose value, Apple continues to be the leader in refurbished smartphones globally and in the US.
  • The ASPs of iPhones in the refurbished market are going through a transition as 4G LTE devices lose more value. Increase in 5G usage has a big part to play here.
  • With the iPhone 14 series launch, the prices for much older models like the 8, 11 and XR series have gone down by about 22%.

Apple’s iPhone 14 series launch on September 7 has made a big impact on the markets for new smartphones globally. We are seeing a high demand for the Pro models in particular. The secondary markets have also been impacted, with older iPhone models losing some value.

According to Counterpoint’s Refurbished Smartphone Tracker, Apple is the leader in refurbished smartphones globally and in the US. The older iPhone models like the 8, X and 11 series make up the majority in the US secondary market. The iPhones’ average selling prices (ASPs) in the refurbished market are going through a transition wherein the older models are quickly losing value due to the newer models on sale. 5G has a big part to play here. As more and more consumers opt for 5G packages, shipments of new 5G smartphones are overtaking 4G handsets in the US. Consumers looking to buy a refurbished iPhone would most likely want to use the saved money on a good 5G plan. This is reducing the demand for 4G LTE iPhones. With the economy in the doldrums, some consumers might opt for the iPhone 13 series in the secondary market instead of a new iPhone 14 series.

US Refurbished iPhones

Source: Counterpoint Research Refurbished Smartphone Tracker

Note: Refurbished iPhones considered were in Grade A condition

We tracked the refurbished iPhone prices before the 14 series launch and after the launch. Normally, there is a loss of value for certain older iPhone models after a new launch. However, the loss of value for 4G iPhones like the 8, 11, X and XR series has been much greater. Unlike the 6 and 7 series, these models are still selling well in the US market. There is one factor contributing to this accelerated reduction and that is 5G. Until 2021, 4G devices held on strongly and so they sold well. Now, with 12 and 13 series models in the market and a healthy upgrade cycle, consumers are looking to get a 5G compatible smartphone to utilize higher speeds in the US.

Pre-launch

The refurbished smartphone pricing situation for Apple pre-launch was quite good. 4G devices still held on to their values even as 5G had become prominent across the country. The 11, XR and 8 series were still among the top sellers in H1 2022, retaining a high ASP. 12 and 13 series refurbished iPhones’ supply had also been quite low due to low churn.

Post-launch

With the iPhone 14 series launch, the prices for much older models like the 8, 11 and XR series have gone down by about 22%. As these models make up most of the refurbished smartphones, the overall ASP for iPhones in the US secondary market is bound to either stay flattish or go down in the coming months. Q4 2022 will be a deciding factor in this case. With models like the iPhone 12 Mini, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max being discontinued, many consumers might look to the secondary market. And with strong deals on the 14 series iPhones, the collection of the iPhone 13 series is bound to go up, promising a good supply in the US market.

While the iPhone 13 series prices in the secondary market have gone up considerably after the iPhone 14 series launch, the trade-in supply for the iPhone 14 series is bound to come from much older iPhones like the X and 11 series. A big factor that could cause this is the extended ownership period. Consumers in the US are holding on to their smartphones for an average of 3 years and 7 months now, which is quite high compared to previous years. The ownership duration is bound to stay at this level for some time.

What we can look forward to  

The US refurbished smartphone market ASPs are quite fluid. iPhones depreciate a few % points each quarter. While the refurb pricing for the iPhone 13 series is quite high right now, we could see the ASPs for this series come down after Q4 2022. We could also witness the phasing out of the 8 and X series in 2023, which will result in an increase in ASPs. While new iPhone prices have plateaued, it is difficult for refurbished iPhones to get any lower. It is up to the consumer to weigh the pros and cons based on personal and economic factors.

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Infographic: Global Refurbished Smartphone Market | 2021

Highlights:

  • The global refurbished smartphone market grew 15% YoY in 2021.
  • The LATAM and India markets registered the highest growth.
  • All ecosystem players focused on increasing supply to meet demand.
  • Apple led with more than 40% share in the global market. Samsung was a distant second but growing in volume.
  • Chinese brands saw a growth spurt in select markets like China and India.
  • Refurbished models are increasingly being sold through carriers in mature markets. However, retail channels are growing in most key countries.

For more insights into the global refurb smartphone market in 2021, read our analyst Glen Cardoza’s blog.

Counterpoint Refurbished Smartphones 2021 Report Infographic May2022Use the button below to download the high resolution PDF of the infographic:

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Podcast #53: How Trade-Ins, Sustainability & Awareness are Driving Refurbished Smartphone Growth

Refurbished smartphones are cost-effective alternatives for consumers looking to save money when buying a smartphone. Apple and Samsung are the top brands in this secondary smartphone market, allowing users to purchase popular flagship smartphones at a much lower cost. Even as shipments for the global market for new smartphones grew 4.5% YoY in 2021, shipments for the global refurbished smartphone market witnessed 15% growth, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Refurb Smartphone Tracker. Factors such as attractive trade-in programs, consumer awareness of sustainability, and certified pre-owned smartphones led to this growth.

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Maurice Klaehne is joined by Research Director Jeff Fieldhackand Senior Research Analyst Glen Cardoza to discuss the refurbished smartphone market. The insightful discussion focuses on key topics highlighting the refurbished market performance in 2021, key regions contributing to the growth, and key OEMs. The three also touch upon topics like geopolitics, sustainability, right to repair movement, and much more.

Hit the Play Button to Listen to the Podcast

You can download the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

01:17 – Glen on how the refurbished market performed in 2021. 

02:41 – Besides attractive trade-ins, what are the other factors driving sales?

03:58 – Jeff talks about the key factors driving the growth in the US and EU. 

05:59 – Jeff further talks about geopolitics and what OEMs are doing to diversify and ensure low-cost operations?

07:55 – Glen talks about the leading OEMs in the refurbished market. 

09:42 – Jeff deep-dives into the right-to-repair movement and which components need the most repairs.

14:10 – Eco ratings and sustainability initiatives from top smartphone brands.

17:22 – Last comments and recommendations for OEMs from Jeff and Glen.

Also available for listening/download on:

      

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Global Refurbished Smartphone Market Beats Expectations, Grows 15% YoY

  • Apple maintained its lead in the secondary market even as Samsung inched closer.
  • ASPs (average selling prices) of refurbished smartphones increased marginally as 4G devices still retained value.
  • A whole new emphasis on circular economy and sustainability was seen with the increase in repair players, online channel focus and marketing initiatives.

London, Hong Kong, Boston, Toronto, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – April 20, 2022

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 but the dynamics between brands seem to be shifting as well.

Important Factors Shaping Refurb Smartphone Market Growth

Source: Global Refurbished Smartphone Tracker

LISTEN: How Trade-Ins, Sustainability & Awareness are Driving Refurbished Smartphone Growth

Commenting on the growth in pre-owned and refurbished volumes, Senior Analyst Glen Cardoza said, “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.”

Global Refurbished Smartphone Market Growth by region 2020 vs 2021

Source: Global Refurbished Smartphone Tracker

Latin America and India lead with the highest growth rates, at 29% and 25% respectively. Even the US, China and Europe regions have shown a strong growth in volumes from 2020. Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “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, “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.”

Sustainability efforts

There is a renewed focus on value chain activities like Repair. This is comparatively more prevalent in mature markets like the US, Europe and Japan. Due to the momentum gathered by the ‘Right to Repair’ movement, there are many new players that have entered these markets seeing a whole new potential once governments and consumer bodies advocate this movement further. Refurbished players in mature and developing markets perceive repair differently as a value-add activity in the chain.

Eco-rating is another sustainability step taken to help consumers make an informed purchase. These initiatives have started in Europe and are gaining support not only with consumers but also with operators and OEMs. However, these initiatives will still take some time to get a foothold even in mature markets. Businesses will continue to prioritize profit generation, which will slow down the pace of these eco-centric initiatives.

Keeping sustainability in mind, some OEMs have started advertising and assuring all stakeholders about their sustainable practices, right from sourcing and production to the end of device lifecycle. This is an ongoing set of initiatives that will gather more steam in the coming quarters. OEMs will have to balance the cost of sustainability with their profit.

The Global Secondary Market Report for Smartphones now includes updates and insights on the following:

  • Refurbished yearly forecasts
  • Smartphone repair industry
  • Eco-rating initiatives
  • E-waste
  • Key brand sustainability initiatives

Feel free to contact us at press@counterpointresearch.com for questions regarding our latest research and insights.

Background

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Glen Cardoza

Jeff Fieldhack

Follow Counterpoint Research
press(at)counterpointresearch.com   

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No Let-up in India Refurbished Smartphone Market Boom

India is a booming market for pre-owned smartphones. The market showed its potential in 2019 when it grew the most globally. Even in 2020, the second half of the year more than made up for the volumes lost in the first half, according to Counterpoint’s Global Refurb Smartphone Tracker. This year too, the market is expected to report stellar numbers.

Counterpoint Research India Refurbished Smartphone Market Forecast 2020 - 2024
Source: Global Refurbished Smartphone Tracker

Important factors shaping the Indian market

Importing pre-owned smartphones into India for usage is curtailed by the government. But that does not slow down the players dealing with volumes in the refurb market. Although India is relatively self-sufficient with supply compared to other countries, one of the main challenges is a complex and unstructured chain in the value system.

The brands and models which sold 2-3 years ago are the ones that make up the bulk of the supply in the secondary markets. Therefore, the players do not have control over what brands or models come their way. Similarly, the level of repair or refurbishment differs across volumes. Refurb players then have to take a call on which ones can be taken in and which need to be disposed of to others in the chain.

While brands like Apple have the most demand, they also command a premium price in the Indian secondary market. Unlike others, Indian consumers have also shown an affinity towards Chinese brands like OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo.

The online channel for buybacks and resale activities has been present in the refurbished smartphone market for a while now. Most large players already have online platforms which are promoted well to ensure convenience. This holds true for metro and Tier I cities. However, the strategy to tap rural areas needs to be different. These areas hold a high potential and that is why players are keen to gain volumes at the earliest.

Refurb Player Categories in India

2021 Outlook

  • As online sales of new smartphones increase, more consumers choose to trade in their devices, which provides an added supply to the secondary markets.
  • Increasing volumes are flowing in from Tier II, III and IV towns. These geographies also represent the highest potential for refurbished smartphone demand.
  • Consumers who previously chose to sell to friends/acquaintances or small neighborhood stores are looking at selling to structured businesses with an online presence and doorstep options. This spells value for the consumer in the form of money and convenience.

There is a need to structure the vast unorganized secondary smartphone market in India but currently, players are looking at gaining volumes in a market where the potential is very high.

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Global Refurbished Smartphone Market Volumes Grew 4% in 2020; Higher Growth Expected in 2021

Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – July 13, 2020

The global refurbished smartphone market saw healthy growth across most regions in H2 2020. The market more than made up for the slump in H1 2020 with a modest 4% increase in 2020 compared to 2019 volumes. Counterpoint expects a higher increase in 2021.

The Surge in H2 2020

Due to the sharp deceleration in H1 2020, mainly due to COVID-19, the refurbished smartphone market saw a rise in demand and supply in H2 2020. Commenting on the dynamics of the market, Senior Research Analyst Glen Cardoza said, “While there was limited supply of smartphones in the secondary market in the first half of 2020, there was a sharp increase in both demand and supply during the second half of 2020. When the markets opened, most refurb players saw a surge in resell volumes and trade-ins. All regions saw YoY volume increases in H2 2020. While some markets like LATAM and Southeast Asia took time to recuperate in H2 2020, other regions like the US, Europe, India, and Africa bounced back and tried to increase supply and distribution-related activities.”

Counterpoint Research Refurbished Smartphone Volumes in Key Regions and Countries: 2019 vs. 2020

Highlighting that Apple had gained share in the secondary market, Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “There has been no slowdown in the appetite for Apple within the secondary market. In fact, over the past year, it has increased compared to its competitors. Apple’s share in the global market for new smartphones was just over 13% in H2 2020. Its share in the secondary market over the same period was over 44%. In addition, Apple’s secondary market ASPs (average selling prices) are almost three times higher than the average of all its competitors. Even with the rollout of 5G by over 150 mobile operators in over 70 countries, the demand and ASPs for Apple’s refurbished LTE portfolio remain elevated. This is helping Apple grow its installed base as many of the Apple buyers in the secondary market are first-time buyers.”

Additional trade-in offers and a focused approach on circular economy initiatives are fueling the demand in developed regions like Europe. In contrast, developing regions like India and Africa are showing a higher proportion of new businesses and improvements in domestic tech and repair capabilities. Cardoza added, “China is slowly becoming a more difficult market for the secondary market. There is still high demand, but costs have increased for key components. Also, there is more oversight at international ports. The ChinaUS trade war has also added more risk, making many buyers more conservative in their purchases. We expect more secondary market volumes to move to other areas such as Africa, Japan, India, and Europe. There are established secondary market companies, with new companies also moving into these regions. There is also an appetite for flagships from premium brands but at mid-tier pricing.”

Background:

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Jeff Fielhack

Glen Cardoza

Follow Counterpoint Research
press(at)counterpointresearch.com       

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