Apple’s iPhone Dominated Global Refurbished Smartphone Sales
- iPhones accounted for nearly half of all refurbished smartphones sold in 2022.
- Refurbished iPhone sales increased 16% in the year.
- India led global refurbished smartphone sales with 19% year-over-year growth.
Apple’s iPhones represented a whopping 49% of all refurbished smartphones sold across the globe in 2022 (via Counterpoint Research).
While 2022 was the worst year for new smartphone sales since 2013, the global market for refurbished smartphones grew 5% year-over-year, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Refurb Smartphone Tracker. India led the charge amongst secondary smartphone markets, seeing 19% year-over-year growth.
Refurbished iPhone sales rose 16% year-over-year, commanding almost half of the global market as of the end of 2022. Samsung came in second place, accounting for 26% of refurbished smartphone sales.
“The global refurbished markets are going through transitions. Supply remains constrained as consumers are holding on to smartphones for longer. At the same time, demand for 5G is increasing, especially in mature markets like the US, Europe and Japan. In 2022, 5G made up 13% of global refurbished sales,” said Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Glen Cardoza.
2022 saw the world go through one of the worst economic crunches in recent memory, driving more customers towards refurbished devices to save either a buck. What’s more, customers also had an increased focus on sustainability and environmental awareness.
Today, smartphones have gotten to the point that a two- or even three-year-old phone, especially a flagship, will tick almost every box for the average user (provided it is still getting security updates, which iPhones receive for up to five years after release).
Apple did so well in refurbished smartphone sales during 2022 that the massive secondary market demand ended up affecting new iPhone sales and service revenues in several markets. Apple reported an 8.2% year-over-year drop in iPhone revenue for the quarter ended December 24, 2022.
The brand-new iPhone 14 experienced significant supply woes towards the end of 2022, and growing demand for older models resulted in a supply crunch for second-hand iPhones in many markets as well.