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Refurbished smartphone market in India is on rise



With the changed market conditions worldwide, the smartphones market is shifted from “Collect-Recycle” to “Collect-Refurbish-Resell” for sipping margins. In India, a smartphone has three afterlives post its first purchase. There has always been a secondhand market for smartphones in India, but interestingly this market was never a competition to OEMs. As the market for smartphones in India matures, OEMs are finding it difficult to differentiate themselves from this competition.


As per industry reports, India has an unorganized market of 70 million refurbished smartphones with a year-on-year 35% growth. The consumer behaviour of this market promises an opportunity for organized players in this segment and many have started betting on it.


Prateek Goel, Founder, InstaCash, says, “Creating C2B platform is the best solution to cater to the secondary market. We have bought about 6,500 units of smartphones within six months through our tech-based phone health check app. There is a huge seller market in metros as they replace their phones in a short span. And, the secondary buyer market exists in the states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP, MPCG, Maharashtra and J&K where high-end models’ demand matches the budget.”


The key drivers of refurbished market in India are – Willingness to buy high-end models, shorter replacement lifecycle, low pocket-size buyers, brand attraction, etc. Since the user does not have the technical know-how and the mechanism of deriving optimum price in the secondary market, the fallback factors of this market are “Buyback Price” and “Trust”. Organized players have started creating “Trust-based Solution” with a “Right Price” by availing phone health check at user’s end and marginally higher price in comparison to unorganized market.


It is estimated that the secondary smartphones market will play a vital role in the penetration of internet in the rural India. Currently, the internet penetration is just 31% in the country which is expected to reach 450-465 million, as per IAMAI and IMRB reports. Taking into consideration the recent economic jolts – demonetization and GST, the smartphones sales have witnessed a sluggish growth.

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