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Apple has almost 50% of the global refurbished smartphone market

Apple captured about half of the global refurbished smartphone market in 2022, followed by Samsung, which shared 26% of sales, according to data from research firm Counterpoint.

The findings also revealed that refurbished smartphone shipments grew 5% globally year on year. That’s in notable contrast to shipments of new phones, which saw an 11.3% decline in 2022, according to research firm IDC.

Counterpoint said the global figure was suppressed by China’s 17% decline in refurbished smartphone sales, a dip caused largely by a resurgence of the pandemic there, which led to a new wave of lockdowns disrupting daily life.

“Apple’s global volumes grew 16% year-on-year in 2022, taking its secondary market share to over 49%,” Counterpoint said in a release, adding that the tech giant is currently the fastest-growing brand in the used and refurbished sectors globally.

However, Counterpoint senior analyst Glen Cardoza noted that the supply of refurbished devices remains constrained as people are holding on to their smartphones for longer.

If you didn’t already know it, refurbished iPhones bought via Apple’s online store come with a fresh battery, a new outer shell, newly replaced parts (if needed), and a one-year warranty.

As you’d expect, the devices are also thoroughly cleaned and tested prior to shipping. They’re even sent out in a brand-new box with new cables and accessories.

With customers upgrading their devices all the time and many choosing to trade in their existing iPhones, Apple’s website for refurbished handsets (and other gear) is constantly being updated.

It means that if you’re after a refurbished iPhone, you either need to visit the site frequently and then act fast when a desired device appears, or, more conveniently, use a tool like Refurb Tracker and RefurbMe that will alert you when a particular iPhone model lands in the refurbished store — though you’ll still have to respond quickly to grab it before someone else.

At the time of writing, Apple’s U.S. online store for refurbished devices features several iPhone 12 Pro Max handsets with 512GB of storage for $1,009, offering a useful savings of $290.

Head across the pond and the U.K. store offers a refurbished iPhone 13 Pro with 128GB of storage for 809 British pounds, saving the customer a decent £140.

Samsung also has an online store selling refurbished phones, with similarly large discounts offered on some of its high-end Galaxy handsets. And just like Apple, Samsung also gives the device a thorough going over and adds brand new parts before selling it.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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