Almost 10 years after its launch, about 200,000 people still use a Xiaomi Mi 2

Paradigm shift? In 2020, 225 million used and reconditioned mobiles were sold


It seems that (almost) nobody wants to spend a month's salary on a 'premium' smartphone, so what is growing the most in the mobile industry is the sale of top-of-the-range refurbished or second-hand smartphones.

After the great crash of 2020, the first crisis in the mobile industry in fifteen years, the truth is that the market paradigm could be changing after confirming that flagship phones keep increasing in price even though the general public mainly look for more compensated mobiles in price and performance, something that can be seen by seeing Xiaomi overtake even Apple in market shares.

Sony already said that it is not easy to sell a mobile phone of more than 1,000 euros in the current situation, and the truth is that it seems that many users who still want to buy high-performance smartphones, they seem more interested in the price reduction that buy them reconditioned and second-hand, a market that has grown like never before in 2020, than to acquire them new and their very high prices above that psychological barrier of the four figures.

In fact, some of the most important consulting firms in the sector such as IDC have put their experts to elaborate a report on the sales of used and refurbished mobiles in 2020, also extrapolating the data forward to a 2024 in which these sales are expected to continue growing of second-hand devices ... Is the paradigm really changing? Will the manufacturers find out that "nobody" wants a mobile of more than 1,000 euros?

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More and more second-hand mobiles are being bought and sold in the world.

2020, the year in which Android flagships skyrocketed in price

Offsetting the cost of the more range 'premium' at the rate of second-hand sales

Forever the most performance smartphones are the most sought after, but the truth is that we already knew that they were not the best sellers because the bulk of users want terminals more compensated in price and performance, always well below about four figures, surely exaggerated.

This is something that many manufacturers have warned about for a long time, and perhaps because of it the noblest mobiles on the market, like the Galaxy S, the iPhone or the Huawei Mate, have resulted in complete families where we can choose more normal high-end phones at prices around 800 euros, up to very cut smartphones premium with superlative cameras and super high prices too.

Anyway, it seems that most users looking for a phone premium they have found a way to have it cheaper, going to find it in reconditioned stores or on device reseller websites, where it is possible get terminals of the highest range almost re-release at much more attractive prices than in official stores and retailers electronics.

The market for refurbished mobiles in 2020

Cotton does not deceive and neither are the figures, with growth of more than 10% between now and 2024.

The numbers that IDC presents us are not deceiving, with more than 225 million second-hand mobile units sold in 2020, specifically 225.4 million, which represents a year-on-year growth of 9.2% compared to the 206.5 million used mobiles that were sold in 2019.

The report indicates that it is a logical situation in the more mature markets, where exchanges always grow as advanced users renew their devices, attracting the rest to update their phones for more powerful and better features once these come down in price.

This compensates for the high price of devices more premium and allows more and more users to access the noble ranges as time goes on, so it seems clear that the situation can only get worse in the coming years, estimating IDC that in 2024 351.6 million units of refurbished or second-hand smartphones will be sold with a growth around 11.2% in this years.

The experts anticipate that in the next few years the sales of used mobile phones will grow by over 10%, and this is something that should make the big manufacturers think about it… What are users looking for?

To me, honestly, I have no doubt that this will be the case and more and more mobile phones will continue to be sold premium second hand, what could anticipate the start of that paradigm shift that Google was already marking with its Pixel 5, leaving aside the hardware race and superlative photography, to sell a mobile with much more compensated user experience and a very attractive price compared to the rest of the high range.

And it is that in the end, What are users looking for? Well in my case I think that precisely this, the best experience at the best price, so I hope that certainly the manufacturers will sign up the note and start to also take care of mobile phones below those 1,000 euros so hackneyed and that nobody wants to overcome ... Don't you think?

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More information | IDC