India is a rapidly advancing market for refurbished phones and witnessing a surge in sales over the past few years. Re-commerce platform Cashify has clocked a 154 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in its mobile buyback segment in 2021 and has refurbished nearly 3 lakh smartphones between 2021 to 2022. As platform's refurbished phone segment, PhonePro, witnessed 4 times growth in the last year, Nakul Kumar, co-founder & CMO of Cashify said in an exclusive interview with Business Today.
Here is the edited excerpt from the interview:
Q. How has the refurbished smartphone market grown in India?
A: The refurbished market has seen a steep rise in acceptance in the past few years, especially during the pandemic. If you go back a few years, people chose to rather stay put with their current phone instead of buying a refurbished smartphone. Whereas, now, you see people choosing second-hand smartphones over new smartphones. A major push behind this is that refurbished smartphones are almost half the price of new phones. And at Cashify, we’re trying to make refurbished more reliable for the customers by offering a 6-month warranty on the device.
All in all, while pre-owned is definitely a good choice pocket-wise, it’s also a more sustainable choice. It’s the best way forward if we want to protect our pockets and our planet.
Q. Will the demand for refurbished smartphones go down due to the current scenario with consumers restricting their purchases due to inflation?
A: I don’t think that the demand for refurbished will slow down. In fact, it is bound to rise. People are becoming more and more value-conscious and they want to “get more with less”. If you can get your dream phone at almost half price without compromising on quality, then it becomes easier for you to upgrade to better and newer tech. As of now, demand for new and pre-owned is reasonably proportionate. We’ll have to see how things pan out in the coming years.
Q. Is there a demand for a refurbished 5G smartphone?
A: The demand for new 5G smartphones has seen monumental growth in 2021. Several OEMs are even launching mid-priced 5G smartphones as well. This uptick, at an equal rate, is also getting reflected in the refurbished market of 5G smartphones. As technology advances from 4G to 5G, people’s aspiration to own the latest tech is seeing a leap. This indeed is a general trend.
Q. What are the findings of your recently concluded annual “User Behaviour whitepaper” for the pre-owned smartphone market?
A: The findings of the survey are very interesting. According to our third edition of a user survey, of the 8000 respondents from across the country, 62 per cent of the respondents changed their devices between 1-3 years, owing to upgrading their devices with better technology and features (54 per cent), upgrading to a premium flagship phone (26 per cent) and changing their older devices due to lagging issues during operations (15 per cent).
Another intriguing finding was that consumers aged 25-44 sold the maximum number of phones in the past year with 84 per cent being male and 16 per cent female. Talking of refurbished smartphones, one thing that came out very strongly is that people who buy refurbished, love refurbished. The reason that we're saying this is because out of all the respondents who bought refurbished smartphones in the last two years, 85 per cent of them said they’ll buy a refurbished device again. While 70 per cent bought a refurbished phone due to the affordability factor, 12 per cent of respondents bought it as a spare device and 13 per cent bought it as a gift for a loved one.
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