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Global refurbished smartphone market down 9% in 2020

The global refurbished smartphone market fell 9 percent (on-year) in 2020 owing to Covid-19 lockdowns and related economic deterrents, according to a new report.

The market saw a dramatic 16 percent decline in the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019, said the latest Counterpoint Research’s ‘Refurbished Smartphone Market Update’.

“It rebounded slightly in the second half of 2020 due to increases in new device sales and a very strong Apple iPhone launch cycle which helped the supply of devices in the secondary market,” said the report.

All major countries and regions showed a decline for the full year of 2020, mainly due to Covid-19.

“The pandemic caused a significant number of smartphone owners to avoid or delay new purchases. Key secondary markets India and Latin America saw 20per cent and 24 percent declines, respectively, during the first half of 2020 due to strict and extended lockdowns,” said senior Research Analyst Glen Cardoza.

China, the most important country in the refurbished market ecosystem, saw significant declines during 2020.

“The Chinese refurbished smartphone market was hit by tensions between China and Hong Kong and trade battles with the US. Many resellers in the secondary market ecosystem avoided China due to more scrutiny by the Chinese government, the potential for higher import duties, and the rising cost of replacement parts,” explained Fieldhack.

Not all segments of the secondary market declined and there were some bright spots in the refurbished smartphone ecosystem.

“Apple grew its share in the secondary market from 39 percent to 42 percent. Despite the proliferation of 5G networks, average selling prices (ASPs) of refurbished LTE smartphones grew,” Cardoza informed.

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