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Used phone sales generated a staggering $13 billion in revenue in 2021

If you’re looking to sell your old smartphone for a little extra cash, now might be the perfect time. According to a new study by data analytics firm CCS Insight, the growth of the used and refurbished smartphone market is higher than ever.

An increase in the number of large companies investing in the sale, refurbishment and recycling of used phones will soon dominate the market share, generating more revenue than the main smartphone market as well as peer-to-peer stores and on a small scale. sellers!

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A key piece of research conducted by data analytics firm, CCS Insight (opens in a new tab), revealed that the average resale price of a used iPhone is actually higher than new models. The growth of what they call “circular economy” in association with used smartphones is expected to accelerate in 2022.

Research from CCS Insight reveals that up to 1.4 billion phones will reach their first end-of-life cycle in 2022. Just over half of these devices will sit in drawers or be thrown away, but a growing proportion will be resold in the second cycle. – market by hand. A selection of these devices will be refurbished and sold “as new”, with prices close to those of new devices and in direct competition with new smartphones.

The sale of used smartphones in 2021 generated more than $13 billion in revenue for organized commercial resellers, with informal peer-to-peer sales (marketplace sellers) and the growing network of organized resellers now accounting for 107 million units sales, recognized as a 28% market growth over the previous year.

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So what does this mean for consumers? With the cost of living becoming a concern for many of us, tighter budgets and an emphasis on sustainability are likely to ensure strong growth in used markets over the next five years, according to CCS.

As long as you have a warranty and the device is fully functional, there’s no reason not to consider second-hand smartphones over new flagships if it can potentially save you hundreds of dollars. .

The dominant mainstream smartphone market and manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Google – to name a few – may have to start slashing the price of their latest flagship smartphones as soon as they are released (although it unlikely to do so) if they don’t want to. lose the top market share of smartphone sales revenue.

Simon Bryant, Vice President of Channel and Supply Chain Research at CCS Insight, said, “The market is maturing rapidly and the structure of the industry remains fluid, with many companies emerging as serious players. They include Cashify, Backmarket, Genuine Solutions, PCS Wireless, Phobio, Recommerce, Renewd and Swappie. Specialist companies currently make up a large part of this market, with many established smartphone brands still catching up.”

Bryant also notes that in the European market, trade-in volumes are far from supporting demand. “More than 11 million units had to be imported to support the demand for second-hand iPhones and high-end Samsung smartphones.”

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Apple iPhones (opens in a new tab) would account for more than 80% of this circular economy, and the high residual value of iPhones ensures that they remain in demand, with the average resale price in the secondary market being around 14% higher than in the main smartphone market.

Many phones from other major brands have limited value in this industry compared to iPhones and are often thrown away or passed on to family members as backups.

A small but growing number of these phones are harvested for valuable parts and commodities, in the UK for example you can trade in phones with cracked screens and water damaged units to companies like Envirofone and CeX , receiving as little as a penny back depending on the device model, or a trade-in discount when purchasing another device. Mobile network companies such as O2 offer a similar trade-in discount service for your old smartphones.

Research from CCS Insight suggests that beyond the US, the circular economy for the sale of used and refurbished smartphones is vibrant, particularly in the UK, Netherlands, France and in India. However, in Northern Europe, Germany and other developed markets, the used industry is still in its infancy.

CCS’s forecast to 2026 predicts that used smartphone sales in these regions will increase over the next few years, although supply is a significant barrier that will hold back volume growth during these periods.

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