Why you only find iPhones in the refurbished market

If you want to buy a second hand phone, chances are you will come across a bunch of iPhones and few Android phones. The reasons behind this overrepresentation of Apple in this market are economic and sociological, but the market is still trying to diversify.

In recent years, the refurbished device market has gained in popularity, thanks to its attractive prices and ecological promises. According to a study by the analysis firm Kantar dated early 2021, 34% of French people have already bought a second-hand mobile. But in this market, one player dominates very largely: Apple.

According to figures from Recommerce (one of the largest French refurbishers) released on June 14, 2021, out of the 20 best-selling mobiles in France since the start of the year, 14 are iPhones. Apple squats the first six places on the podium and we find in the ranking of models ranging from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. But why the hell only Apple smartphones seem to have the right to a second life? After all, Android smartphones still represent 76% of the phones in circulation in France.

The ranking of the best sales of refurbished smartphones for the beginning of the year 2021) // Source: Ranking Recommerce

Higher iPhone residual value

The answer is first and foremost economic. ” The residual value of iPhones is higher, which means that we can recover and sell a lot more », Explains Augustin Becquet, head of Recommerce. In short, the higher the cost of a mobile, the more chance it will have of ending up on the second-hand market. And in the game of Argus mobile, iPhones far surpass Android phones.

Apple’s pricing policy favors recovery price stability, where other brands have more aggressive business strategies with new prices falling rapidly. This lowers the residual value and therefore the interest of the refurbished », Details the CEO of Recommerce. A Galaxy S21 which will be regularly sold off will therefore lose value on the refurbished market compared to an iPhone which will remain at the same price. In addition, Samsung has a wider product offering with a more diversified price range, which does not necessarily encourage people to turn to refurbished products: the brand image can be bought new, at a reasonable price.

Compared to the number of new phones sold, the refurbished only recovers 5 to 10% of the volume // Source: andreahuyoff – Pixabay

The software tracking provided by Apple also helps iPhones maintain a good resale rating since even a 4 year old phone will continue to receive updates. An achievement that few Android manufacturers can boast of. Finally, there is also a sociological reason for the dominance of the iPhone in the refurbished market. ” The primary target of our partners in the refurbished market are young urban people. », Explains the CEO of Recommerce. A relatively well-off population economically and fairly receptive to Apple’s brand image.

The entry-level “disposable” range

But it’s not just this branding that matters. The purchase price of a new telephone also greatly conditions its chances of reaching the second-hand circuit. ” Only high-end phones keep a rating », Details Augustin Becquet. ” They are the most ‘repairable’ products because they cost more. There is therefore better monitoring of components and we are less hesitant to have them repaired than entry-level phones which are almost ‘disposable’ products. », He concludes.

Note that the portion of phones recovered by reconditioners remains low for the time being. Recommerce rates it at “5 to 10% »The volume of new models sold. The market is starting to diversify, however: the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Huawei P30 Pro have made a comfortable place, for example.

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