As smartphone upgrades plummeted, used iPhones sold like hotcakes

Promoting a brand new smartphone is the toughest it has been in years. Rising gadget prices, restricted variations between mannequin upgrades, and financial and environment-related needs to maintain electronics alive so long as attainable are making individuals flip to refurbished telephones, knowledge shared this week by analyst Counterpoint discovered. And if somebody is shopping for a refurbished cellphone, there is a good likelihood it is an iPhone.

Based on Counterpoint, Apple represented 49 p.c of refurbished telephones bought worldwide in 2022. The variety of refurbished iPhones bought elevated 16 p.c year-over-year, with the general used smartphone market rising 5 p.c year-over-year, Counterpoint stated. The numbers could be even increased, however a reported 17 p.c drop in refurbished smartphone gross sales in China—pushed, the agency stated, by a rise in COVID-19 instances and associated insurance policies—was detrimental.

By Counterpoint’s measures, Apple grew its market share right here from 44 p.c in 2021 to 49 p.c. Samsung is the largest competitor, however it misplaced market share.

Counterpoint stated Android customers switching to Workforce iOS in 2022 was an element that “will doubtless proceed” this yr.

iPhones are thriving on this space, partially as a result of it is simpler to earn a living reselling a licensed, pre-owned-grade iPhone than it’s different units, Counterpoint Analysis Director Jeff Fieldhack stated in a press release shared with the analyst’s announcement. iPhones are additionally well-liked amongst refurbishers as a result of they’ll promote for extra. For instance, Again within the Field, which refurbishes and sells telephones and different electronics, just lately instructed The Wall Street Journal that it prefers iPhones to Android units, largely as a result of “Apple updates gadget software program for extra years than its rivals do,” in keeping with the WSJ.

As a result of Apple merchandise are costly, used or refurbished options are well-liked with customers wanting to economize however keep in Apple’s ecosystem. Used iPhones and different merchandise do not have the identical warranties as new units, however clients who purchase refurbished Apple merchandise from Apple instantly, for instance, can see a restricted guarantee and buy AppleCare safety to make the acquisition safer.

Based on Counterpoint, in mature markets just like the US, 2022 demand for refurbished smartphones largely got here from individuals searching for a brand new cellphone, in comparison with rising markets, the place demand got here from individuals seeking to improve from a function cellphone.

Refurb’s popularity

A brand new pattern the analyst highlighted is that clients extra continuously flip to used telephones to economize on high-end flagship units. In the meantime, used cellphone sellers have efficiently improved the shopper notion of used units by advertising.

Many are pushing trade-ins by providing clients credit score. IDC predicted that in 2023, customers would see “extra beneficiant trade-in provides and promotions.” We have seen this begin coming to fruition with the likes of Apple increasing trade-in values for some iPhones (iPhone 13 Professional Max, 13 Professional, 12 Professional Max, and seven Plus) in March. A number of weeks later (and proper earlier than Earth Day), the corporate launched a extra informative trade-in web site with a brand new look, as famous by 9to5Mac.

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