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Worldwide market for used smartphones to surpass 430 million units with market value of US$109.7 billion in 2027, says IDC

Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: DIGITIMES

IDC estimates worldwide shipments of used smartphones, including officially refurbished and used smartphones, will reach 309.4 million units in 2023. The unit growth represents a 9.5% increase over the 282.6 million units shipped in 2022. In addition, IDC projects that used smartphone shipments will reach 431.1 million units in 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8% from 2022 to 2027.

Supply of used smartphones remains a critical challenge as refresh cycles, high price points, and macroeconomic challenges have all negatively impacted the new smartphone market. However, demand for used smartphones remains healthy and will continue to grow throughout the forecast period, just at a slower rate than previously forecast, thanks to the challenge of acquiring inventory.

IDC forecast new smartphone shipments to decline 3.5% in 2023 as demand, inflation, and political unrest continue to impact the global economy. In contrast, the used market demonstrated fierce resilience to overcome these unforeseen circumstances by displaying nearly 10% growth for the year. Refresh rates for new phones in most developed markets have extended past 40 months, which has caused a shortage of available inventory for the secondary market. Trade-in programs continue to fuel the industry but only make up a portion of the total used inventory.

Although the secondary market growth looks impressive compared to the new market, which continues to struggle, growth rates are slowing from our previous forecast. Moreover, the lack of inventory has also impacted each region's total available market (TAM) for used devices. The total secondary market has been pulled down around 2.7% as longer refresh rates and weak consumer spending continue to dampen both the new and used markets.

"Despite the near 10% growth, the secondary market is showing signs of slowdown due to a genuine lack of inventory," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "With refresh rates extending in most mature markets, acquiring inventory remains the biggest challenge for resellers. Secondary phone retailers are hungry for inventory as the high end of the market continues to be scarce due to customers just holding on to their devices. This lengthening can also be witnessed in the new market where shipments declined 3.5% for 2023."

Worldwide used smartphone shipments, 2023-2027 (m units)

Region

2023 shipments

2023 market share

2027 shipments

2027 market share

2022-2027 CAGR

North America

81.8

26.4%

107.1

24.8%

7.8%

Rest of World

227.6

73.6%

324

75.2%

9.2%

Total

309.4

100%

431.1

100%

8.8%

Source: IDC, compiled by DIGITIMES, December 2023

Worldwide used smartphone revenues, 2023-2027 (US$m)

Region

2023 revenue

2023 revenue share

2027 revenue

2027 revenue share

2022-2027 CAGR

North America

26,653

41.2%

44,339

40.4%

10.7%

Rest of World

227.6

58.8%

65,327

59.6%

11.4%

Total

64,695

100%

109,666

100%

11.1%

Source: IDC, compiled by DIGITIMES, December 2023