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The Unprecedented Growth of Refurbished Smartphones: Facts, Figures, and Expectations

The love for refurbished smartphones is growing in leaps and bounds and the customers aren’t complaining. While the new smartphone arena is still doing pretty well, refurbished devices are fast catching up, in terms of popularity and cost-effectiveness. In this discussion regarding the present and future of refurbished gadgets, we would analyze the multiple factors which are instrumental in this unprecedented growth besides enlisting the expectations associated with the same.

What Drives the Demands?

Inclination towards some of the more aspirational smartphones brands like Samsung and Apple are eventually pushing individuals closer to the refurbished devices. It is important to understand that a majority of these new flagships are priced exorbitantly which only a few can afford. However, in order to satiate the brand and functional requirements, customers eventually shift to pre-owned devices which sport cheaper price tags. Refurbished devices, however, are better bets as compared to typical, used smartphones as they are retailed via select online counters like Togofogo, Shopclues, and a few more while offering warranties— much similar to the new and packaged devices.

What is the Current Trend?

If survey reports are to be believed, the refurbished smartphones are gaining popularity at a pretty rapid rate. With the current trend being an optimistic one, it wouldn’t be surprising if the existing market grows by 27 percent in 2019 and reaches newer heights by the end of 2020. At present, there has been a 400 percent overall growth in this category and the surge isn’t going to slow down, anytime soon. The trends show that purchasing refurbished smartphones online is increasingly gaining precedence; courtesy competitive price points and easy availability.

What Price Points and Perks are expected?

While it’s evident that one can expect lower price points when it comes to purchasing refurbished smartphones, some gadgets can also be availed at even 50 percent discounts. It is also important to note that with the increased popularity of the used mobile phones, the companies are even increasing the inventory and improving the range of selections for the customers. Another aspect that needs to be analyzed is that the overall refurbished smartphone arena showcases a market volume of around 35 million despite a limited number of gadgets retailed every year.

Pre-Owned Gadgets vs. Refurbished Smartphones

An old mobile phone for sale cannot be considered as a refurbished one unless the third-party vendor or even the concerned manufacturer takes it under control and fixes the smaller issues synonymous to the same. Based on reports, almost 25 percent of used phones head back to the market but only a handful get refurbished. That said, even increased data consumption plays a pivotal role when it comes to popularizing the refurbished smartphone market.

The Indian Connection

Although the global smartphone arena is continually expanding with each passing year, it all comes down to how the refurbished market is faring, in regards to the Indian contingent. Firstly, the Indian refurbished gadget market grew by a staggering 25 percent by the end of 2017 with more than 12million units being sold. Moreover, a majority of feature phone users are also migrating to smartphones and starting off with a used yet refurbished device. What’s interesting to note is that almost one-third of the 12 million units sold in India belong to some of the more notable and premium brands like Samsung and Apple. Stats pertaining to India are way more optimistic as compared to the global market which grew by 13 percent in the last year and there were around 140 million refurbished units sold, worldwide. This reveals that India is actually one of the fastest growing markets for the refurbished players.

Are Domestic and International E-commerce Giants Showing Interest?

The recent trends have compelled online players and e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon to invest in the refurbished smartphone market. Moreover, even the existing government has shown interest towards setting up refurbished operations across the country; precisely for pushing forth the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Each one of these initiatives is expected to propel the existing infrastructural and technological growth in the best possible manner.

The inclination towards refurbished smartphones is encouraging recycling which in a way is instrumental in minimizing the electronic footprint. That said, the trends are filled with optimism and the refurbished smartphone arena is expected to evolve further, in days and years to come.


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