According to the latest statistics from Counterpoint Research, Apple’s refurbished iPhone business has grown significantly and its sales was increased by 16% in 2022, taking its share of the “used smartphone” market to around 50%.
As the market research firm said, this would make Apple the “fastest-growing brand” in the global market for refurbished and used smartphones. The impact on Apple is twofold: on the one hand, consumers are buying fewer new iPhones; on the other, they are buying more subscription services.
Analysts have predicted that the global market for refurbished smartphones grew by 5% a year in 2022, with sales of such devices falling by 17% in China, the worst downturn in the country’s second-hand sector for many years.
By region, India led the global market in 2022 with a growth rate of 19%, followed by Latin America with an increase of 18% year-on-year.
By brand, Apple’s market share for refurbished smartphones increased from 44% in 2021 to 49% in 2022. Huawei’s market share decreased from 4% to 2% and Samsung’s from 28% to 26%. OPPO and VIVO, two other smartphone manufacturers, also had flat sales.
Counterpoint also said that the three largest sources of demand for refurbished smartphones are as follows:
- Buyers of new smartphones (mature markets)
- Feature phone users switching to smartphones in emerging markets
- Second-hand trade channels that rely on C2C
Three suppliers are the main sources of refurbished smartphones:
- Refurbished smartphone retailers (fastest growing)
- Refurbishment services are now offered by operators, mostly for established markets.
- Smartphone recycling and refurbishment are a top priority for OEMs.
Compared to previous years, a higher percentage of buyers opted for refurbished high-end and flagship phones, pushing up the average price in the secondary market.
According to Counterpoint Research, the iPhone 13 accounted for one-third of all iPhones sold in China in 2022, and Apple accounted for more than 10% of all smartphone sales in that year.
Apple does not appear to be offering refurbished iPhones in Greater China. Even though domestic customers know how well iPhones hold their value, they only buy them through a variety of second-hand trade channels.
According to Apple’s official US website, the refurbished iPhone models available in the official store include the iPhone 11, four models from the iPhone 12 series and four models from the iPhone 13 series. However, the only model available is the $839 iPhone 12 Pro Max.