How to turn a refurbished device into a good second-hand one?

Clothing, objects, and tech products: never has second-hand done so well! A real trend, accelerated by a delicate economic context, but also an increasingly asserted desire of many buyers to take care of the environment, by giving certain equipment a second life. As the Christmas holidays approach, it is smartphone refurbishers who are expecting record sales. Want to put a second-hand iPhone or Samsung Galaxy (the best-selling references) under the tree? “20 Minutes” gives you the keys to this market, gives you its tips and warns you about the pitfalls to avoid.

A real phenomenon

Give a refurbished smartphone at Christmas? If a few years ago, many did not dare to consider it (probably for fear of offering a second-hand device, or even of “being stingy”), the idea has since gained ground. Sign of the times? Yes: the market has structured itself and now has a real history, and the time is more than ever for savings and good deals. For their part, the environmental considerations of consumers are changing. Result: 37% of French people say they have already bought a refurbished smartphone*

CertiDeal applies 32 checkpoints to smartphones before they are resold. – Christophe Séfrin/20 Minutes

Thus, while the market for new smartphones stagnated in 2021 (-3.6% in volume), that of refurbished terminals exploded by more than 36%, representing 16% of total sales volumes, according to the Gfk. And it’s during the holiday season that refurbishers do most of their ” business “.

Starting point on Black Friday

“We are clearly attacking the strongest period of the year,” enthuses Laure Cohen, co-founder of CertiDeal. “As for the new home market, we are preparing for sales peaks multiplied by three during the next month”, confirms David Mignot, co-founder of YesYes. For these two French refurbishers, Black Friday will kick off the big annual sales, with the wait-and-see attitude of buyers becoming more and more significant before November 25th. It is indeed the “official” date of Black Friday, the big annual sale, and its many promotions, especially in the world of tech. Sale more than ever popular with “Generation Z”: 92% of 15-25 year olds take advantage of Black Friday to shop, including 71% to buy Christmas gifts at reduced prices**!

Apple and Samsung lead the way

Observation: apart from Apple and Samsung smartphones, few brands have a voice in the world of refurbished smartphones. And again, the iPhone would monopolize 80% of sales there, approximately. “We don’t see much Huawei or Oppo, some models of which are popular. As for Xiaomi (the third largest seller of smartphones in the world and in France, according to Canalys), the price of new products remains relatively accessible, ”notes Laure Cohen.

It would therefore not necessarily be worth buying a refurbished Xiaomi. We nevertheless flushed out refurbished Xiaomi Mi 11s sold for 349 euros in 256 GB (compared to 495 euros, their current price when new) on Smaaart, another French refurbisher, which favors short circuits. You can find more on BackMarket, which is a marketplace and brings together refurbishers from all over the world. A criterion to check before buying, if you don’t want to impact your carbon footprint too much… According to a recent study***, in 2022, 45% of buyers of refurbished smartphones are motivated by the more ecological aspect of their approach. This is 11% more than in 2021! Encouraging.

Three years of age for the best vintages

The market is therefore drive by products that are initially expensive. And by products that are about three years old. Thus, at a time when new smartphones, such as the iPhone 14, are only evolving technically, the terminals which yesterday were at the top of technology, paradoxically remain very competitive. Examples ?

The iPhone 11 would be, according to David Mignot of YesYes, “the great value for money of the moment”. Launched at 809 euros at the end of 2019, it is sold at 389 euros in refurbished (64 GB). For smaller budgets, Laure Cohen recommends the iPhone XR which can be found at just under 300 euros in 64 GB. Even if it is older (five years), the very good plan at Apple remains the iPhone 8, sold around 150 euros in 64 GB, against 809 euros when it was launched. Beware: Older iPhones are no longer compatible with iOS 16 and may have trouble running some apps. An iPhone 8 may therefore seem ideal for the first equipment of a teenager, even if it is necessary to compare different models by checking in particular what is called their “aesthetic grade”. On the reconditioner’s site, the latter determines the appearance of the product, with the possibility of micro-scratches, stains, possible visible impacts, etc. (Read box).

Samsung cheaper

On the side of Samsung, it is the Galaxy S10 which looks like a very good deal if you want to stick to your budget. Launched 3 years ago (like the iPhone 11), it is now 70% cheaper than when it was launched: around 259 euros, compared to 909 euros in 128 GB.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is sold 60% refurbished only when it was launched.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is sold 60% refurbished only when it was launched. – CHRISTOPHE SEFRIN/20 MINUTES

More recent (2020), the Galaxy S20 comes out at around 369 euros, or 60% cheaper than the price of new in 128 GB! Where we will note that the prices of old Samsung smartphones are deteriorating more quickly than those of its eternal rival at the apple… A logic to that: Apple hardly touches the price of its new smartphones during their life cycle, while those of Samsung evolve downward over time. The first iPhone 14s are just starting to arrive refurbished (from 889 euros). A boon for buyers, according to David Mignot: “They will be able to access a dream share at a knockdown price”.

* Ifop survey for Smaaart, carried out among 1,201 people from October 3 to 6, 2022.

** Opinion Way survey for Clearpay, conducted among 525 people from October 5 to 7, 2022.

*** Happydemics survey, for YesYes, conducted among 1,018 people from August 5 to 13, 2022.

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