The demand for refurbished smartphones has seen an increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic with many looking at affordable options. This comes as the demand for smartphones in general has seen a significant increase with work and education now moving online.
In fact, a report by re-commerce platform Cashify has revealed that 32% of those surveyed invested in refurbished gadgets due to remote working, while 26% invested in them for their family members due to shift in work, digital learning and entertainment.
The survey suggested that price and affordability was the key criterion for buying refurbished smartphones amid the pandemic, indicating that the consumer has become cautious due to unprecedented times.
A shortage in supply of new smartphones along with delayed customs clearances for Chinese goods has also led to a sharp increase in demand for pre-owned devices, according to industry experts.
Insights garnered from the Cashify survey show that Xiaomi is the top-selling brand in the pre-owned market with 27%, followed by Apple and Samsung at 16%, and Motorola at 12%.
And it’s not just Cashify, other re-commerce and used good platforms such as Quikr, Yaantra, Olx and Xtracover too, have been seeing a spike in demand since Unlock 1.0 was initiated, driven by paucity of new devices in the market as factories have been hit by a manpower crunch.
Sarath Chandra Gudlavalleti, VP at QuikrBazaar told TNM that considering the economic slowdown due to the current pandemic, consumers are left with financial constraints and limited budgets which impacts their buying behaviour. Post-COVID too, Quikr expects Indian consumers to largely lean towards the value-for-money proposition.
“Consumers will opt for pre-owned, refurbished and unboxed products that are easy on the pocket. Truly enough, with Unlock 1.0 and a few relaxations in the lockdown rules, we are starting to see increasing trends on our platform,” Sarath said.
QuikrBazaar says it saw a 35% increase in the searches for pre-owned mobile phones in June as compared to May.
In spite of the lockdown, Quikr saw an increasing demand for pre-owned mobile phones in June as compared to May in cities like Chennai and Noida.
Meanwhile, the Cashify survey revealed that Delhi (18%), Bengaluru (13%), and Mumbai (12%) are leading the sales for pre-owned smartphones.
Omni-channel reseller Yaantra CEO Jayant Jha told the Economic Times that they have sold two times the smartphones compared to what they sold in pre-COVID days, especially in the Rs 5,000-15,000 category, in the month of June.
Buy-and-sell marketplace Olx said that on the demand side, it has seen a 40% growth in buyers looking to purchase pre-owned smartphones, while on the supply side, it has seen a 71% growth in listings in June compared to May.
The Cashify survey found that e-learning as well as work from home solutions have become an essential commodity and influenced the decision to buy refurbished devices. Mid-range (Rs 10k- 20k) smartphones dominated the purchase during this period and will remain so in the coming months due to impact on disposable incomes.