With the rise in internet penetration, demand for latest smartphone handset models is also growing up. While the affordability of these models is still out of the reach for the low-budget groups, top smartphone distributors see this as an opportunity to enter the refurbished market.
Companies like Ingram and HCL, who have already entered the business, are refurbishing old handsets sourced locally and then sell them in the market.
Ingram Micro is planning to launch the refurbished handsets under its own brand focused on iPhone. Besides, this will help them bypass government restriction of sourcing old phones from abroad.
Most of the refurbished handsets sold by these companies will be Apple’s iPhone followed by flagship models of other makers such as Samsung, industry executives were quoted in an ET report.
This is not all. Leading distributors such as Redington and Europe-based refurbished smartphone retailer Phonup, have entered India to set up dedicated refurbished smartphone stores under a joint venture with Franchise India. The pricing will be 40%-60% lower than the current selling price for a new model.
Apple, whose iPhones are in demand, is also trying to sell company-certified refurnished iPhones in India by importing old models and refurbishing them. Though its plans are yet to come through as it was struck down by the government on concerns of e-waste.
The proposal is still in the limbo, executives added. However, according to the CEO of a leading cellphone retailer, refurbished handsets sell will pick up this year.
Amazon has been one of the earliest entrants into organised selling of refurbished smartphones in India where the warranty is provided by the seller. Flipkart has also started selling refurbished smartphones from popular brands, such as Samsung On Series, Lenovo, Motorola and Sony Xperia.
As per industry estimates, the market for refurbished smartphones in India is around $3-billion with a year-on-year 35 per cent growth, dominated largely by the unorganised sector. Of late, the returned phones, after service and refurbishment in the factories are finding takers in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
India, a fastest growing smartphone market, is the world’s second-largest mobile phone market after China, the third largest smartphone market after China and the US. Smartphone shipments in India grew 18 per cent annually in calendar 2016 compared to the global smartphone market which grew at 3 per cent, according to Counterpoint Research report.
Other than Flipkart and Amazon, ShopClues sell such devices. Recently, ShopClues had started a new category titled ‘Re-New Gadgets’ to sell refurbished and unboxed electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.