Apple's refurbished strategy pays dividends | WARC | The Feed
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Apple's refurbished strategy pays dividends
Apple sells a lot of new phones, but it still reaps the ecosystem benefits of refurbished or second-hand phones on the global resale market.
Why it matters
Sales of new phones remain strong and important for Apple but focusing only on the new can obscure the changing shape of Apple’s business and the new areas of growth beyond its most established markets.
Smartphones are not as consumable as they once were and, in recent years, Apple’s new $1000+ phones haven’t been able to draw the same annual queues of people looking to pick up the very latest. Devices have to last, and are enjoying a thriving secondary market in which the halo of Apple’s brand continues to drive growth.
What’s going on
Globally, 27.11% of smartphones in circulation use Apple’s iOS, while in the critically important US market this rises to 50%. But not all of these iPhones (the software won’t work on non-Apple devices) are new.
- In 2022, Apple captured 49% of the global secondary smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research, constituting a year-on-year increase of 16%.
- The key locations of refurbished mobile sales growth overall are India (19% YOY growth in 2022) and Latin America (16% YOY).
- This all took place amid a 12% dip in new smartphone sales globally.
Spotlight on India
Apple’s refurbished growth in India, reaching 11% of the market in 2022 versus 3% in 2021, chimes with the company’s recent pivot to the country, where it is not only opening new stores but also manufacturing operations as it moves away from its reliance on China.
Counterpoint also forecasts rapid growth in new phone sales in India this year by a colossal 31% (the US is expected to remain flat by comparison). The Indian market makes Apple the only growing major smartphone company in the world.
The strength of Apple’s resale business relative to competitors says a lot about the brand’s aspirational value across the world.
For Apple, this also strengthens several of its emerging interests, not least its fast-growing services business, but also its nascent advertising business, which has a stated aim of growing to $30bn by 2026.
It will need new device users as well as its refurbished and second-hand users to grow that addressable audience – an audience that brands want to speak to as much as users want to be a part of it.
Sourced from Counterpoint Research, WARC, MobileDevMemo
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