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Worldwide shipments of used smartphones forecast to reach 413 million in 2026

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates worldwide shipments of used smartphones, including officially refurbished and used smartphones, will reach 282.6 million units in 2022. The unit growth represents an 11.5% increase over the 253.4 million units shipped in 2021. This growth is expected to continue as IDC forecasts used smartphone shipments will reach 413.3 million units in 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% from 2021 to 2026.

Trade-in programs continue to be the driving factor for the new and used smartphone market globally. We have witnessed new programs launch successfully across multiple regional markets where trade-in is still a new concept for local consumers. Additionally, in mature markets such as the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe, trade-in continues to play a significant role in speeding up refresh cycles through telco and retail-driven promotions. This has contributed to an increase in trade-in value (TIV), which is typical when demand for new devices is slow. The rise in TIV has pushed prices up in the secondary market due to consumers getting more for their old devices to help drive upgrades.

The increased sale of higher-priced devices in the new market has also created a circular effect as many of these aggressive trade-in deals feature primarily on premium devices. How long these aggressive trade-in offers last remains a big question for buyers and sellers. Eventually, narrow margins will impact the overall profits of the channel, vendor, or perhaps both.

“The used market was able to grow 11.5% in 2022 thanks to the 6.1% rebound we witnessed in the new market for 2021,” says Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Used devices demonstrate more resilience to market inhibitors than new smartphone sales as consumer appetite remains elevated in many regions. Attractive price points are critical for growth as cost savings remain the primary benefit. However, a high-end inventory struggle due to elongated refresh cycles in the new market has used prices growing over 11% in 2022.”

Worldwide Used Smartphone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)
Region 2022 Shipments* 2022 Market Share* 2026 Shipments* 2026 Market Share* 2021-2026 CAGR*
North America 73.5 26.0% 103.9 25.1% 10.8%
Rest of World 209.1 74.0% 309.4 74.9% 10.1%
Total 282.6 100.0% 413.3 100.0% 10.3%
Source: IDC, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2022–2026, Dec 2022.

CT Bureau

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