Demand for used smartphones increased in 2022, expected to continue till 2026.


Analyst company IDC has been found Global shipments of refurbished and used smartphones are expected to reach 282.6 million in 2022, up from 253.4 million a year ago. This represents an increase of 11.5 percent. Companies like Apple, Google and Nokia provide updates to their devices for longer periods of time, so even two-year-old phones can run the latest software.

Poco M3 Pro 5G press render

According to IDC, this growth rate is expected to continue until 2026 where it predicts that shipments will stand at 413.3 million with a compound annual growth rate of 10.3%.

“The used market managed to grow 11.5 percent in 2022, thanks to which we see a 6.1 percent rebound in the new market for 2021,” says Anthony Scarcella, research manager of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Used devices are more resilient to market disruptions than new smartphone sales as consumer appetite has increased in many regions. Attractive price points are critical to growth as cost savings are the primary benefit. However, higher inventory struggles due to longer refresh cycles in the new market may increase prices by more than 11 percent in 2022.”

It is interesting to note that used smartphones make up a larger market share in the rest of the world than in North America. In 2022, used device shipments accounted for 26% of all shipments in North America but in the rest of the world, the figure stood at 74%. This is likely due to the fact that second-hand devices are cheaper than buying new. By 2026, IDC expects second-hand phone shipments to decrease to 25.1% in North America and increase to 74.9% in the rest of the world.

Besides the obvious advantages of buying second hand, there is also an environmental factor. While the environment may not be what people think of when buying a second-hand phone, the practice of buying second-hand keeps phones out of landfills for longer. In some cases, when phones are returned to the OEM, the materials are reused, as is the case with Apple and its disassembly robots.


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