Global Used and Refurbished Phones Market Study

Mercato globale dei telefoni usati e ricondizionati

These days, nearly half of the world's population uses a smartphone and annual spending on new smartphone hardware exceeds US$370 billion. According to the report by Counterpoint, due to the growing availability of affordable smartphones, the average global end user replaces his device after 21 months.

Replacement cycle

What does this mobile replacement cycle in 21 months mean to retailers and wholesale businesses? More and more end users tend to choose used, renewed or refurbished devices instead of purchasing the new ones, about once per 2 years. Multiple statistical data prove this fact and the growing trend. The majority of Asians are willing to spend $400 or less when picking a new phone - check another proof taken by the Counterpoint research team.

Percentage uf users willing pay 400$

The market of used and refurbished phones in developing countries

However, this is only one of many reports with current statistics on the use of smartphones all over the world. Our company that specializes in software for mobile diagnostics constantly collects the data about the appliance of renewed and refurbished phones. And our figures prove the statistical report given by PersistanceMarketResearch about the potential growth of the global used phone market.

As expected, the demand with developing nations (like the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Russia, India, Brazil, and Argentina) for refurbished and used smartphones is much higher than in other countries.

Used phones

In these developing counties, consumers are very price sensitive and they mostly pick up low-cost goods, including electronic devices. However, the market of used and refurbished phones in most demanding countries is extremely unorganized, the companies tend to stay in the grey zone when it comes to paying taxes. The niche is very tight, but, at the same time, official companies tend to grow their business here, especially if they provide warranties for used phones.

The U.S. market of renewed and used smartphones

In the USA this market is also very popular. In 2017, according to PersistanceMarketResearch, the global refurbished mobile phones market was worth US$19 billion. In Q2 2018 it grew 10% YoY compared with the market for new smartphones. By the end of 2026 is expected to exceed US$44 billion.


In most developed countries like the U.K., Italy, Germany, France and the U.S. most users of the loyal consumer base are tech-savvy. That's why they tend to replace their old phones with more advanced and newer models. But at the same time, they are not ready to spend a lot on purchases of new smartphones. This is the reason why so many users from developed countries prefer selecting used, renewed and refurbished phones with all advanced features in low prices or with discounts.

Unlike the developing countries where people buy used and refurbished devices from small retailers and buyback sellers, American choose huge retail and wholesale companies with a trustworthy reputation to replace their devices:

  • Best Buy - because they offer discounts up to 30%;
  • Samsung - offers substantial discounts for the models that are older than 1 year;
  • Apple - has Certified Refurbished program worldwide. Like new products backed by a one-year warranty;
  • Amazon - also has its own Amazon Renewed program with refurbished, pre-owned or open-box products as high-quality like-new "Certified Refurbished" products at greatly reduced prices. In January 2019 the new deal between Apple and Amazon came into force. Amazon's new policy allows selling Apple products only Authorized Apple Resellers;
  • Gazelle built its business by refurbishing and selling phones bought from their regular consumers. But they lack the brand diversity and can offer a small selection of brands - mostly just Google, Samsung and Apple devices;
  • Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and other mobile service providers also move in this direction.

Most of the mentioned companies and suppliers offer guarantees when selling used or refurbished phones.

Using certified mobile phone diagnostic software NSYS Tools will help you to prosper at any country that is profitable to grow the business of used and refurbished devices. In addition, you may understand what strategy to use for making the business successful with a minimum investment of time and money.

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