Refurbished cellphones fly off shelves amid pandemic, Telecom News, ET Telecom

MUMBAI: Delayed availability of new handsets and laptops due to supply chain constraints and declining available cash due to the pandemic has pushed local demand for refurbished phones to new heights, market trackers estimating that sales of these devices would roughly double in 2021, compared to 2019.

Jayant Jha, co-founder and CEO of web marketplace Yaantra, told ET that refurbished phones in the Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000 range are “replenished in less than 30 minutes.”

“The rise of refurbished smartphones is higher than that of laptops and over the past year the reliance on handsets has multiplied. We aim to reach 750 cities in the 12 to 12 months. Next 18 months from 450 now, ”said Jha, who runs the site online. platform that repairs and sells handsets.

Refurbished smartphones are handsets owned by someone else and have subsequently been restored and sold to working condition by a reseller. Like a new phone, these also come with warranty and payment options. Typically, a refurbished phone is 15-20% cheaper than its original, depending on the brand and condition.

While the pandemic has propelled smartphone sales with students and India Inc. based on handsets like never before, logistics issues like port closures and chip shortages are leading many customers to buy refurbished phones rather than to wait for a new device launch or even a more expensive laptop.

Research firm IDC said consumers no longer opt for a laptop worth Rs 30,000 or a tablet priced at Rs 10,000 to 15,000.

“The handsets have more ease of use, more functionality,” said Navkendar Singh, research director, IDC.

According to IDC estimates, compared to 20 to 30 million refurbished mobiles sold in 2019, around 40 to 48 million units are expected to be sold in 2021. It is important to note that most of this market is unorganized. and that the actual numbers could be higher. , say the experts.

The demand for refurbished phones is booming in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities like Davangere, Mysore in Karnataka, Ludhiana (Punjab), Gorakhpur (UP), Rampur (UP) and Bhilai (MP).

Apple’s iPhone demand in Tier 1 cities is 34% while the four Chinese brands contribute 63% of total smartphone demand, according to the results.

Retailers say an ambitious label is attached to high-end phones from Apple, Samsung and OnePlus. Customers want to buy their refurbished models at much lower prices than the original.

In a recent study by OLX, a consumer-to-consumer market, the iPhone has become the smartphone of choice. Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, Realme, and OnePlus were other favorite brands.

“All of these brands together account for 90% of total demand on OLX, with Apple iPhone making up a third,” the online marketplace said.

Chandu Reddy, director of handset retailer Sangeetha Mobile, said the company aims to further diversify into the refurbished handset market, get more products and payment options keeping in mind the demands of customers. consumers.

Yaantra said it would previously offer straightforward EMI options, but the company now has links to non-bank financial companies (NBFCs), refund offers and more options to make payment terms even more affordable. .

With China’s closure or imposition of restrictions at airports and ports due to covid infections among workers, freight costs have risen 40-50% – after nearly doubling in the past three months – which will cause cell phone prices to increase in the future.

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