The Growth of Refurbished Phones During COVID-19 Pandemic
(Photo : The Growth of Refurbished Phones During COVID-19 Pandemic)

People cannot deny that smartphones and other mobile devices are now a part of their everyday lives. Your gadget might always be around you, whether in a bag, pocket, or hand. The majority of the equipment manufacturers are aware of this growing trend and trying hard to break borders in mobile technological developments. At times, you might consider buying a new device whenever a new model with upgraded features is released. However, the scenario has changed, and the most notable of all the pandemic's effects is a decline in the demand for new smartphones.

The first quarter of this year has registered a low point for the mobile industry. While other sectors, such as the internet of things (IoT) and big data, has excelled amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the smartphone industry has not. As the novel coronavirus continues to spread globally, it's causing considerable economic effects on mobile companies.

The demand for new mobile devices has plummeted. In February, when the virus was at its peak in China, vendors were primarily concerned about meeting the growing smartphone demands worldwide. However, in March, the scenario was different. Although cell phone manufacturing has now recovered, as most of the world entered a lockdown, sales declined.

Nevertheless, despite the lockdown, an industry that saw skyrocketing sales is the refurbished phone industry. According to a Cashify study, work from home solutions and e-learning has become a significant commodity and influences the decision to opt for refurbished gadgets.

Refurbished Electronic Gadgets are Getting a Second Look

The demand for refurbished or pre-owned smartphones has seen a jump during the coronavirus pandemic, with people going for cheap alternatives. A study by Cashify has revealed that the demand for smartphones, in general, has seen a significant increase because of the growing inclination towards digital learning, entertainment, remote working, and variations in work shifts.  Furthermore, the study highlighted that cost and affordability were the two primary factors for buying pre-owned phones during the pandemic, implying that people have become more cautious due to uncertain times.

Moreover, a shortage in the manufacture of new mobile devices and setbacks in customer clearances for Chinese equipment has significantly led to a robust increase in demand for refurbished phones. And it's not just Cashify; other online retailers such as The Big Phone Store has reported a 300% increase in their daily orders for refurbished phones during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Refurbished mobile devices account for a massive fraction of industry sales. Besides, they can be an excellent alternative for people looking for significant savings, especially during the pandemic, when the price of a new model (for example, Apple 12 Pro) can easily exceed $1,500.

For instance, on Apple's official website, you can purchase a refurbished iPhone X 256GB for $679. A new iPhone X 256GB costs $1,049. On the other hand, Samsung offers a refurbished Galaxy S10 126GB for $635, which is about $143 less than a brand-new phone. However, before purchasing a refurbished phone, you may need to remember a few things.

Know What You're Purchasing

When you're purchasing a new phone, you're getting a device that someone probably brought a few months or a year ago and exchanged for a new one or a discount. The refurbished gadgets sold by Apple are remodeled with the same software and replacement parts that are used in the brand-new ones, the company claims.

Besides, Samsung uses similar standards for refurbished mobile devices sold online and its stores. The company promises a "thorough, top-down examination of every feature and function." But the devices by third-party retailers don't always include new batteries. The majority of the phones come with a charging cord, but very few come with the original earphones.

So, look for devices that are "certified refurbished." In case they do not meet the standards, ask the retailer for additional details on its restoration process, especially if it comes with a battery replacement and original accessories by the manufacturer.

Make Sure You Get a Warranty Card

Do not purchase refurbished phones that come without a warranty card. Companies such as Samsung and Apple offer a warranty for a full year. Retail websites such as Amazon and Best Buy guarantee their refurbished phones for only 90 days. Most credit card companies will extend coverage on refurbished devices as long as they come with a warranty card.

Know About the Returns Policy

In case of any technical issue with the device, it may take time to show up. Thus, purchase a device from a retailer that grants you at least 45 days to return it. Amazon grants a returns policy of 30 days while Apple Store gives only 14 days.

The Bottom Line

2020 was supposed to be a year for the mobile industry to expand more in economies such as Japan, Europe, and the US. Every smartphone company has huge expectations from 5G and foldable devices. With the growing trend of refurbished gadgets, it seems unlikely that consumers will spend thousands on a new smartphone.

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