Used Smartphone Sales Show Remarkable Growth

IDC has projected that worldwide shipments of used smartphones, encompassing both officially refurbished and pre-owned units, are on the rise. The estimate for 2023 stands at 309.4 million units, marking a 9.5% increase from the 282.6 million units shipped in 2022. The forecast for 2027 says smartphone shipments could soar to 431.1 million units, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8% from 2022 to 2027.

Region2023 Revenue2023 Revenue Share2027 Revenue2027 Revenue Share2022-2027 CAGR
North America$26,65341.2%$44,33940.4%10.7%
Rest of World227.658.8%65,32759.6%11.4%
Worldwide used smartphone revenues ($M). (Source: IDC)

There are critical challenge in the supply of used smartphones, stemming from extended refresh cycles, high pricing, and various macroeconomic difficulties. These factors have also negatively impacted the new smartphone market. Despite these challenges, the demand for used smartphones remains strong and shows growth potential, although at a slightly slower rate than previously anticipated. While new smartphone shipments are expected to decline by 3.5% in 2023, the used market is displaying remarkable resilience.

One of the major hurdles in the used smartphone market is the challenge of securing inventory. As consumers in mature markets increasingly hold onto their devices for longer durations, the higher-end segment of the market faces scarcity. This trend is impacting not only the availability of used devices but is also evident in the new smartphone market, which has seen a 3.5% decrease in shipments for 2023. Retailers in the secondary phone market are struggling to find inventory, particularly for high-end devices.

Region2023 Shipments2023 Market Share2027 Shipments2027 Market Share2022-2027 CAGR
North America81.826.4%107.124.8%7.8%
Rest of World227.673.6%324.075.2%9.2%
Worldwide used smartphone shipments (shipments in millions of units). (Source: IDC)

Maybe this is a good enough reason for Samsung is suing BOE for infringing on its display IP for aftermarket sales of smartphone screens.