Customers have found a new way upgrade their current phone to a newer model for less cash.

Refurbished and used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023. There has been a 17.6% increase from 2018 to 2019 in officially refurbished and used phones shipped according to the International Data Corporation.

As customers look at ways to save money, selecting a used smartphone over a new one can offer considerable savings. In addition to this, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have struggled to produce devices that offer enough new features to qualify the price point and desirability required so people have been holding onto their existing phones for longer. When it finally is time to upgrade, it's no longer an must-have to for everyone to purchase the very latest model. In fact, manufacturers are now supporting older models for far long, with software updates and price cuts.

“In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

“Moreover, the ability for vendors to push more affordable refurbished devices in markets in which they normally would not have a presence is helping these players grow their brand as well as their ecosystem of apps, services and accessories” said Scarsella.

Also we should clarify that according to IDC's taxonomy, a refurbished smartphone is not a "hand me down" or gained as the result of a person-to-person sale or trade. A refurbished smartphone is a device that has been used and disposed by its owner, either via a retailer's trade-in service or sold to one of the many mobile phone recycling services.

Once the device has been examined, it's repaired if needed and usually cleaned, reset and graded. There is no official grading system in the market so it's still important to purchase your second-hand phone from a reputable retailer, you can read more about that in our Guide to Buying a Refurbished Phone.

Of course, buying a refurbished phone, means less new phones are produced, which means less materials being used and fewer factory emissions.  And if it saves us a buck or two while protecting our beloved world?  We are in.

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