COVID-19 fuels a drop in new smartphone gross sales, an upswing for recycled telephones


Coronavirus-led shutdown of key manufacturing crops in China and shopper monetary issues gas curiosity in pre-owned cellphone gross sales, in keeping with a Gartner report.

Picture: Getty Pictures/iStockphoto

Amongst its many outcomes, the coronavirus has put a damper on first-adopters, a few of whom, pre-pandemic, could be the primary in line to purchase the brand new iPhone SE in September. However new smartphone gross sales dropped 20.2% for the primary quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020), in keeping with a brand new report from Gartner. 

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Whereas edicts to shelter-at-home and the cloud of financial uncertainty affected the gross sales of latest smartphones, recycled telephones are on the upswing (by 24%). A recycled or refurbished cellphone is usually one which has been traded or offered so the proprietor can improve to the brand new model or a “higher” cellphone.

Gartner’s report, “Market Share: PCs, Ultramobiles and Mobile Phones, All Countries, 1Q20 Update,” additionally famous that the demand for smartphone gross sales faltering coincided instantly with customers bucking non-essential merchandise.

Prime distributors really feel the burn

Except for Xiaomi, all the high 5 smartphone distributors recorded a decline in Q1 2020. Samsung, Huawei, and OPPO suffered the worst efficiency among the many most in-demand distributors.

SEE: Apple iOS 14: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Sturdy gross sales of Redmi units pulled up Xiaomi in each worldwide and on-line gross sales making it one of many few that weathered the storm of COVID-19. And there is a motive for that, with the very talked-about Xiaomi Note‘s inexpensive price ticket of $150, in addition to its robust fame; it was additionally well-reviewed on TechRepublic. 

In Might, ZDNet reported that the Xiaomi Redmi Eight was second solely to the very consumer-heralded Samsung Galaxy A51 ($400 and $500 for 5G). In the identical story, it reported that smartphone shipments from Samsung and Huawei had been down 17% (with a 13% decline for all good telephones). 

Throughout Q1 2020, Samsung’s smartphone gross sales declined 22.7%, but the Korean juggernaut maintained its primary spot in gross sales, with a 18.5% market share. 

Gartner’s report of worldwide end-user smartphone gross sales progress

  1. Samsung -22.7%
  2. Huawei -27.3%
  3. Apple -8.2%
  4. Xiaomi +1.4%
  5. OPPO -24.2%
  6. Others -20.2%

Gartner’s report famous that Apple had the least vital penalties from COVID-19 in contrast with the opposite high distributors. For Q1 2020, Apple’s iPhone gross sales dipped 8.2%, totalling 41 million items.

Of the highest 5 listed, Huawei had the worst efficiency in Q1 2020, with gross sales dropping to 42.5 million items, a decline of 27.3%. Nonetheless, regardless of its first-ever decline, Huawei maintained its quantity two spot, following Samsung.

Huawei, OPPO and Vivo are depending on China, however Apple is much less so. Nonetheless, it confronted retailer closures and provide constraints–which had an affect on iPhone gross sales in Q1 2020. 


Picture: Gazelle

Recycling telephones is gaining recognition

With firms that can purchase your cellphone for money (to place towards a brand new one), popping up (i.e. Decluttr,, Gazelle), customers are profiting from the opportunity of getting a cellphone with extra capabilities, extra storage, and extra updates, however for a fraction of the fee. 

Recycle SellCell

Picture: SellCell

On this time of sheltering-at-home, Marie Kondo-ing, and reversing the house hoard, investing in a recycled (or upcycled) cellphone is sensible.

From March to Might 2020, Decluttr–a firm that buys previous telephones and sells used telephones, amongst different media-related objects like DVDs and books–reported a 26% improve in refurbished cellphone gross sales and a 36% improve in cellphone trade-ins, in contrast with the identical interval in 2019.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

“We have now additionally seen an elevated demand for individuals needing to remain linked to family members after they’ve not been capable of see them in individual, in addition to the necessity to have the suitable tech to do business from home, and to be entertained outdoors of labor, additionally from house,” mentioned Liam Howley, CMO of Decluttr. “Individuals search for higher worth choices, and refurbished tech provides a lower cost tag with out a sacrifice on high quality.”
Sarah McConomy, COO of advised TechRepublic, that “90% of the units which might be traded-in get refurbished after which resold again into the US market” for “higher worth,” in addition to for the environmental implications.  Refurbished and pre-owned telephones are an enormous a part of the market now.
McConomy defined that refurbished telephones are a a lot better worth, and you’ll: 

  • “Successfully purchase a top-of-the vary refurbished iPhone for tons of much less” than shopping for  new on the Apple Retailer.”
  • Have a cellphone upgraded and refurbished by specialists.
  • Halt digital waste and be environmentally pleasant.  

“The EPA discovered that People throw away over 416,000 telephones every day, equalling over 150 million telephones yearly ending up in landfills,” mentioned Yanyan Ji, CMO of ecoATM Gazelle.
McConomy added, “Cell telephones include dangerous toxins together with lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chlorine and bromine. If disposed of in landfills these toxins could be absorbed into the air, floor and water provide and over time trigger dangerous results to the ecosystem and the setting. This creates very severe potential threats to the well being of animals, people, and the broader setting so it is essential we do one thing about it.”

The preferred units proper now

“The iPhone XS Max and 11 Professional Max are presently the most well-liked units bought” via Gazelle,” Ji mentioned, and added that probably the most traded-in telephones for 2019-2020 had been the Apple iPhone 6 at ecoATM, and the Apple iPhone Eight for Gazelle.
Dealing with many manufacturers and sorts of smartphones hasn’t fairly signaled to Ji which is probably the most sturdy, and Ji mentioned, “Sturdiness is predicated on if customers use a case, display protector, frequency of utilizing their gadget, in the event that they drop it loads, and so forth.”

Is Apple or Android extra in style?

Ji mentioned the apparent non-committal, it isprivate desire” when selecting between the 2 favored manufacturers, with some clients preferring Apple units, and others, Android units. “It is about the kind of software program that works greatest for you and your each day wants.”

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