When Used Phones Become A Thing

Many people would never buy a new car, opting instead for used vehicles a year or two old and significantly cheaper. A similar trend will next year start to transform the smartphone market, I predict, where the supply of used phones is going to take off.

And that will permanently change the market for new smartphones. Both iPhones and Android devices could be affected. A flood of cheap used iPhones could displace demand for Android phones in markets like India, where the pricier iPhone has a particularly low market share. But it could cannibalize demand for new iPhones as well in many markets, including the U.S.

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And more are likely to stay in the U.S. The big uncertainty is how more plentiful used phones will affect demand for new devices. Ms Zimmermann from Gartner said it would depend on the price. Above $400 to 450, “still a high amount,” she noted, which mean it might only draw 10% of new iPhone buyers. A cheaper phone could draw closer to 20% of new iPhone buyers.

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