Used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9M units by 2023


Smartphone users choose affordability over new features, IDC found.

The best ways to recycle or sell a used smartphone
When you’re ready to buy a new smartphone, don’t stash your old one in a drawer. Sell it or donate it to charity. Here’s how to do it.

The used smartphone market is forecasted to reach 332.9 million units by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 13.6% between 2018 and 2023, according to IDC research

The data found that used smartphone sales already saw tremendous growth in 2019, reaching a total of 206.7 million units.  

SEE: 5G smartphones: A guide for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

IDC’s research, released on Thursday, only took into account used or refurbished smartphones. The press release defined a refurbished smartphone “a device that has been used and disposed of at a collection point by its owner.”

“In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in the release. 

“Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone,” he added.

The growth in used smartphones shows a public leaning toward affordability over new features. OEMs have attempted to find a balance in new smartphones between features and price points, but it seems the features haven’t been worth the money for many smartphone users, according to the data. 

This movement away from buying new smartphones isn’t a new idea: In August,
Ting Mobile’s Phone Upgrade Survey found that the two-year smartphone upgrade cycle is over
. Nearly half (47%) users said they keep their mobile devices at least three years before upgrading, with the top deciding factor being price, Ting Mobile found. 

“Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth,” said Will Stofega, program director at IDC Mobile Phones, in the release. 

“We feel that the ability to use a previously owned device to fund the purchase of either a new or used device will play the most crucial role in the growth of the refurbished phone market. Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward,” he said.

Looking forward, the research found that the deployment of 5G networks will most likely impact the used smartphone market, as more people will trade in their 4G devices for the promise of high-speed, low latency 5G phones.  

For more, check out 17 ways to recycle or sell your iPhone X on TechRepublic. 

Also see 

mobile smartphone in electronic store

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