Refurbished iPhone sales continue to grow as Apple extends lead over Samsung

Apple is seeing significant growth in its refurbished iPhone business, according to new data from Counterpoint Research. Apple’s refurbished iPhone sales reportedly grew by 16% in 2022, increasing its share of the “secondary” smartphone market to nearly 50%.

Counterpoint Research analysts say that this makes Apple the “fastest-growing brand” in the used and refurbished smartphone markets worldwide. For Apple, the impact of this is two-fold: It’s decreasing the demand for new iPhone sales, but increasing demand for its various different subscription services.

In terms of brands, Apple’s global volumes grew 16% YoY in 2022, taking its secondary market share to over 49%. Apple is the fastest-growing brand in the used and refurbished sectors globally. This secondary market demand is affecting new iPhone sales and service revenues in many markets. Apple is a major contributor to the increasing refurbished share as compared to the new smartphone shipments in main markets. The supply crunch is mainly felt for iPhones in refurbished markets.

Apple’s share of the refurbished smartphone business increased from 44% in 2021 to 49% in 2022. Samsung saw its share fall from 28% to 26%, while Huawei fell from 4% to 2%. Other smartphone makers were flat, including Oppo and Vivo.

Counterpoint says there are three main sources of refurbished smartphone demand:

  • New smartphone buyers (mature markets)
  • Feature phone users shifting to smartphones (emerging markets)
  • Unofficial channels dependent on C2C or hand-me-downs

And refurbished smartphone supply is coming from three sources:

  • Refurbished smartphone retailers (growing the most)
  • Carriers have started offering refurbished options, but mainly in mature markets.
  • OEMs are struggling to collect and resell refurbished smartphones.

Apple sells refurbished iPhones itself directly via its online store, although supply and availability can vary wildly. For example, Apple’s “Certified Refurbished” store currently only has iPhone 12 Pro Max units available. On the other hand, retailers like Amazon have a large refurbished iPhone business and usually sell devices at much lower prices than Apple itself.

Are you currently using a refurbished iPhone? If so, where did you buy it? Let us know in the comments.

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Naveen Kumar

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