The market for refurbished smartphones exploded in 2021. According to figures from Counterpoint, the market soared by 15%.
The price of high-end smartphones remains very high, especially for the youngest. More and more people today are considering buying refurbished models from popular brands like Apple and Samsung. Belgium, however, remains one of the most skeptical markets for refurbished phones in Europe.
For Janne Korpela, head of new market development at Swappie, habits are changing, however. “Aith the arrival of important and reliable players on the market, the attitude of Belgian consumers will evaluate”. Thereby, “over time, a refurbished smartphone will become a safe choice for any consumer”.
Some profiles describe themselves as more specified than others by refurbished smartphones. This is the case for young people, who are looking for high-performance devices at optimized prices. “Young Belgians generally buy more iPhones, show more interest in the refurbished market and buy more second-hand phones than their elders” says Janne Korpela. This explains in particular why companies specializing in this field primarily target devices from major brands. The advantage for young consumers is clear: a price 40% lower than that of new.
Companies are also increasingly interested in refurbished. “They are turning to refurbished for their employees’ function phones”Swappie’s manager. “At the moment, in the professional sector, in Belgium, it is mainly employees and medium-sized companies who use our service”, says Janne Korpela. The manager explains the new “corporate” trend by the fact that the current context is leading companies to pay more and more attention to the environment, “buying refurbished gives employees a concrete example of the company’s desire to focus more on sustainability”. The lower prices and the economic aspect are also decisive factors in convincing these new customers.
However, a lot of educational work remains. 37% of Belgians would not be interested at all in refurbished smartphones, according to a study conducted by the company in our country. Refurbished still has a bad reputation. Mainly due to scams and poor quality second-hand devices resold in some shops. A certification or a label could change the situation.
At the moment, there is no independent and unified certification process at European level. There are some labels, such as the “certified refurbished mobile” created by RCube.org. It rests on “the first European standard, the result of a consultation of key players in the professional reuse sector”. The label therefore guarantees that second-hand products are put back into use. And this, in respect of “best practices”according to its own reference.
The actors who invest in this sector put on the fact that in other markets, the reconditioned now represents a transparent part of the sales. “In the automotive sector, 50 to 70% of vehicles in circulation are categorized as “used” rather than “new”… For smartphones, it is 100 million new, compared to 10 million”. The potential is therefore enormous.