NEEDHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#IDCTracker–International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates worldwide shipments of used smartphones, including officially refurbished and used smartphones, will reach 282.6 million units in 2022. The unit growth represents an 11.5% increase over the 253.4 million units shipped in 2021. This growth is expected to continue as IDC forecasts used smartphone shipments will reach 413.3 million units in 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% from 2021 to 2026.
Trade-in programs continue to be the driving factor for the new and used smartphone market globally. We have witnessed new programs launch successfully across multiple regional markets where trade-in is still a new concept for local consumers. Additionally, in mature markets such as the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe, trade-in continues to play a significant role in speeding up refresh cycles through telco and retail-driven promotions. This has contributed to an increase in trade-in value (TIV), which is typical when demand for new devices is slow. The rise in TIV has pushed prices up in the secondary market due to consumers getting more for their old devices to help drive upgrades.
The increased sale of higher-priced devices in the new market has also created a circular effect as many of these aggressive trade-in deals feature primarily on premium devices. How long these aggressive trade-in offers last remains a big question for buyers and sellers. Eventually, narrow margins will impact the overall profits of the channel, vendor, or perhaps both.
“The used market was able to grow 11.5% in 2022 thanks to the 6.1% rebound we witnessed in the new market for 2021,” says Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Used devices demonstrate more resilience to market inhibitors than new smartphone sales as consumer appetite remains elevated in many regions. Attractive price points are critical for growth as cost savings remain the primary benefit. However, a high-end inventory struggle due to elongated refresh cycles in the new market has used prices growing over 11% in 2022.”
Worldwide Used Smartphone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)
2022 Market Share*
2026 Market Share*
Rest of World
Source: IDC, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2022–2026, Dec 2022.
Table Notes: Data is preliminary and subject to change.
*Forecast projections (4Q22-4Q26)
According to IDC’s taxonomy, a refurbished smartphone is a device that has been used and disposed of at a collection point by its owner. Once the device has been examined and classified as suitable for refurbishment, it is sent off to a facility for reconditioning and is eventually sold via a secondary market channel. A refurbished smartphone is not a “hand-me-down” or gained due to a person-to-person sale or trade.
The IDC report, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2022–2026 (Doc #US49944722), provides an overview and five-year forecast of the worldwide refurbished phone market and its expansion and growth by 2026. This study also provides a look at key players and the impact they will have on vendors, carriers, and consumers.
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.
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