Last year, one hundred million used handsets were sold globally.
As a fan of the smartphone, you’ve likely heard of refurbished phones. Refurbished phones are phones that have previously been sold or used (e.g., as a display unit in a store), before being tested and fixed (if necessary) and then sold to customers at a lower price than if the phone was brand new.
There has been an increasing conversation about refurbished phones recently, and it seems as though there is growing interest in the market. But why are more people beginning to consider refurbished handsets and why should you be one of them?
One of the main reasons that the refurbished phone market cannot be ignored is because it is experiencing huge rates of growth. A recent report published by industry analysis firm Counterpoint Research revealed that in 2017, the global market for refurbished smartphones grew 13% year on year, which is approximately 140 million sold units.
In comparison, the global new smartphone market only grew 3% during the same year. This means that people were buying refurbished handsets at more than four times the rate that they were purchasing brand new ones.
But why is this growth happening? According to a report by KnowTechie, this is partly because the price of brand new phones is rising, so much so that a new, high-end smartphone costs more than a television or a laptop. It is far more affordable to purchase a refurbished iPhone 6 rather than a brand new iPhone X, for example, making refurbished handsets a smart purchase for thrifty phone fans.
One of the reasons that brand new phones cost so much money is because the technology they offer is increasing in power. For example, the iPhone X has 3GB RAM which is six times as powerful as the iPhone 4 which released in 2010 with just 512MB RAM under the hood. Apple has also made a huge amount of progress in making better quality screens, longer lasting batteries, processing power, and much more. So it makes some sense that these phones will cost a lot more.
But for people who are tight on budget, those high prices mean that buying a brand new high-end smartphone just isn’t possible, so you’re unable to enjoy that improved tech until the price comes down. Refurbished phones provide affordable access to high-quality tech as they are a lot cheaper than brand new handsets by default. Although it may take two or three months for a newly released handset to show up on refurbished phone stores, the amount of money you’ll be saving makes the short wait more than worth it.
The ability to access more powerful smartphones isn’t just a novelty; it can have a tangible impact on your life. By being able to access more powerful technology, you can enjoy the full breadth of apps available from the App Store and the full suite of features. You won’t have to feel that familiar pang of disappointment when you realize that you’re unable to play a game because it’s not compatible with your aging smartphone.
For example, Pokemon GO developer Niantic recently ended support for the game on older iPhones and iPads meaning that anyone who wanted to keep catching ‘em all would have to buy a new phone - refurbished phones make the upgrade process far cheaper than you’d expect. Likewise, Pokemon GO now makes use of the ARKit technology found in newer iPhone models, meaning that those who upgrade their handset will be able to enjoy the game in its entirety.
Another reason that you should be paying attention to refurbished phones is the market growth, which is forcing smartphone manufacturers to rethink their strategies. As highlighted by the Counterpoint Research study, the refurbished market is growing faster than the brand new market, meaning that smartphone manufacturers will have to work hard to win over people again.
We have already seen certain mobile app development trends, including the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), with retailers such as Cadbury’s, Starbucks, and Ikea, all getting involved in AR app development. As smartphone manufacturers aim to offer more ‘wow’ factors that make the high cost of a brand new phone feel worth it for consumers, expect them to pledge significant time and resources into improving these areas of mobile technology.
Finally, you should be paying attention to refurbished phones because they work like new. Unlike used phones, which are sold again ‘as is,’ refurbished handsets go through a rigorous testing process that involves removing data, cleaning the phone and replacing faulty parts. There are several different places where you can buy refurbished phones and each retailer will have their own testing process, but the major retailers in the refurbished industry like Amazon and Mac of All Trades, use certified, trusted technical experts to ensure that their phones are in the best working order.
As such, it means that aside from a few cosmetic blemishes (e.g., minor nicks and buffs), a refurbished phone is just as good as a brand new handset. This perhaps explains why more than one hundred million refurbished smartphones were sold last year.