Sales of used smartphones are growing in contrast to new ones, and half of the secondary market is captured by the iPhone

Analytical agency TrendForce presented a report on the state of the secondary market of smartphones. The report says that the pandemic and the increase in the average life cycle of smartphones from 36 to 42 months are negatively affecting sales of new smartphones. The market for used smartphones continues to grow amid a decline in sales of new ones.

  Image Source: Elly Brian/

Image Source: Elly Brian/

According to available data, in 2022, the share of used smartphones in total sales was 11%, or approximately 167 million devices. China is the largest market for used smartphones, followed by Europe. It is noteworthy that in 2026, China may lose its position to India, as this country with its huge population is actively developing, and conventional push-button models in developing countries are massively changing to entry-level smartphones.

As for the distribution of brands, Apple is the absolute leader in the secondary market, in 2022 its models accounted for 45-50% of sales, Samsung took the second place with a share of 25-30%. Other brands occupy the remaining relatively small segment.

The growth of the used smartphone market in recent years can be attributed both to increased demand in developing countries and the challenge of introducing significant software and hardware innovations in new products. This leads to the fact that buyers are in no hurry to purchase new devices. It is known that brands and retail networks present Trade In programs, under which old smartphones can be exchanged for new ones with an additional payment. At the same time, old models are not disposed of, but also enter the market, and the rather high marginality of used items has led to the fact that they began to be actively traded on popular marketplaces.

An important role is played by the fact that modern smartphones actually have excessive performance. Other factors also play an important role, for example, the desire of Android smartphone vendors to increase the amount of RAM and permanent memory of new models for marketing purposes. As a result, smartphones can remain in circulation in the secondary market for a long time. In addition, modern smartphone cameras are of such high quality that they can compete with some entry-level cameras. Other technical parameters are also important, thanks to which used modern smartphones remain relevant for quite a long time.

It is also known that large accumulated stocks of displays and memory modules have a significant impact on the average price of these items – thanks to this, it is quite profitable to repair failed gadgets. It is known that the fall in prices also led to an increase in the amount of permanent and RAM in new smartphones. As a result, the life cycle of gadgets has increased even more, giving the market for used smartphones an additional boost. All these factors influence the development of the so-called circular economy in the smartphone industry and lead to an expansion of the market for supported devices. This situation has been around for a long time – even at the end of 2021, it turned out that the market for used gadgets has grown significantly.

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