Research company IDC estimated worldwide shipments of used smartphones in 2022 hit 282.6 million units, an 11.5 per cent year-on-year increase, primarily driven by operator trade-in programmes.

IDC forecast shipments of officially refurbished and used devices will continue to rise at a CAGR of 10.3 per cent between 2021 and 2026, when the annual total is expected to hit 413.3 million units.

The company cited trade-in programmes as a driving factor for new and used smartphone markets.

Trade-in promotions have been a staple for US operators in recent years, as they look to entice new subscribers with subsidised smartphone deals, but IDC noted new programmes have cropped up across multiple global markets.

In mature markets including the US, Canada and Western Europe, IDC stated trade-ins played a key role in ramping refresh cycles through operator and retail-driven promotions, contributing to an increase in value and, in turn, fuelling price rises in the secondary market.

IDC research manager Anthony Scarsella stated used “devices demonstrate more resilience to market inhibitors than new smartphone sales, as consumer appetite remains elevated in many regions”.

“Attractive price points are critical for growth as cost savings remain the primary benefit. However, a high-end inventory struggle due to elongated refresh cycles in the new market has used prices growing over 11 per cent in 2022.”