Steady performance in global secondary market as Q4 2023 marked by 46.8 millions units sold

VAT rate on repair

In Q4 2023, a robust 46.8 million units were sold globally, showcasing a 2.9% increase from the previous year, as reported by CCS Insight. This excludes peer-to-peer and independent store sales. The average price for second-hand devices fell to $304, down 8% from the previous quarter, aligning with a market correction following 2022’s peak prices due to supply limitations and reduced trade-in activity. Shifting from a European to a global perspective, we now examine the worldwide trends in the pre-owned and refurbished smartphone sector.

The used device market outshone the new mobile device market, recording a 2.9% growth against a 4.4% downturn in sales of new mobile devices. This reflects the secondary market’s robust demand, buoyed by increased global purchasing power and a shift towards sustainable consumer practices. As the world economy pivots towards recovery, regional sales analyses indicate significant shifts: North America experienced a 3.3% sales drop, while Asia Pacific and Europe enjoyed growth rates of 4.1% and 4.0%, respectively, and Latin America marked a substantial 7.4% surge in sales.

While Grade B devices continue to lead with a 65% market share, their sales have seen a 4.1% dip. Conversely, Grade A device sales surged by 19.6%, signaling a consumer pivot towards higher-quality devices. Smartphones still dominate the used market with an 81% share, but smartwatches are emerging as the fastest-growing category with a 5.6% increase, reflecting a broadening of consumer preferences and market evolution.

The fourth quarter saw retail channels, including marketplaces and physical stores, dominate used device sales, making up more than two-thirds of the market. Growth in manufacturer and operator channels was modest at 1.6%, driven by network operators and direct manufacturer sales, notably from Apple. The secondary market shows potential for expansion but is challenged by supply shortages and regulatory constraints. The demand for used mobile devices continues to outstrip supply, unaffected by trade-in programs. Furthermore, the market is adjusting to tighter EU import rules for iOS devices, complicating the market landscape.

The influence of a standardised charger on Europe’s secondary market

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