The Indian smartphone market, with over 1.17 billion mobile phone users, is one of the biggest markets for mobile phone manufacturing companies. Disruption led by Reliance Jio and subsequent decline in the prices of data plans by telecom companies have led to unprecedented demand for smartphones. While smartphone makers like Xiaomi, OnePlus, etc, are already making a killing by tapping the thriving smartphone market, the demand for refurbished or second-hand smartphones of aspirational brands like Apple and Samsung has increased manifold. Besides India, Africa and Southeast Asia are the biggest markets in the refurbished smartphones category.
According to a report published in The Economic Times, the market for refurbished mobile phones would rise by over 27 per cent over in 2019 and 2020 and that many new companies are making a foray into the Indian market every year. Right now, companies like Amazon, Cashify, Shopclues and Togofogo dominate the second-hand and refurbished market in India. The refurbished mobile phone segment of Amazon alone has grown by 400 per cent year-on-year, says the report.
These online companies usually offer heavy discounts, up to 50 per cent, on refurbished mobile phones, which make them an easy buy for those looking for smartphones of best companies in the world at cheaper prices. Not only Amazon but other players like Cashify have also posted three-fold growth in this segment.
Experts say continuous upgrades in smartphone models and subsequent supply of newer versions have also given rise to the demand for second-hand or refurbished category smartphones. Many people, who are first-time smartphone buyers, are choosing used phones due to easy affordability.
Around 12 million refurbished smartphone units were sold in India in 2017 alone. World's biggest smartphone manufacturers Apple and Samsung accounted for around 33 per cent of these sales, says Counter-point Technology Market Research. In volume terms, the segment grew 25 per cent in India as compared to 13 per cent across the globe.
Other global giants like HCL, Flipkart, Redington, etc, are also in the race to capture the market. Experts suggest the growing refurbished mobile phone industry can also be a boon for India if the government encourages global companies to set up operations under the Make in India initiative.