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Phones are now so expensive that the second-hand market is blowing up

More and more consumers are considering buying refurbished smartphones rather than brand new ones, a report has found. The main reason? The ludicrous prices that some phone makers now charge for their latest wares.

It’s a sorry state of affairs when companies like Apple and Samsung feel comfortable charging people more than £1000 for their latest flagship smartphone, without any real fear of triggering widespread condemnation. So it’s reassuring to see that consumers plan to vote with their feet, and simply find a better deal.

Related: Best cheap phones

Analyst firm CCS Insight carried out a survey in the UK and the US in December, and found that 60% of UK-based participants and 56% of US-based participants would consider going second-hand for their next smartphone purchase.

“This new-found willingness for pre-owned rather than brand-new phones reflects the steep price of many premium mobile phones released in the past two years,” CCS Insight’s report says.

The report adds that less than 17% of respondents have bought a refurbished phone in the past, which means many would be going down this route for the first time, and are seemingly prepared to take the risks associated with buying a pre-owned product.

As CCS Insight explains, this “signals growing acceptance by consumers previously concerned about the condition and reliability of refurbished mobile phones”.

Kester Mann, CCS Insight’s director of consumer and connectivity, said: “The market for refurbished mobile phones is firmly on the rise.

“Multiple factors will encourage growth, including the growing residual value of mobile phones, wider options to trade-in or part-exchange existing phones and attractive SIM-only deals. This presents opportunities to new retail players to stake a position in a device market still dominated by sales through mobile operators, both in the US and the UK.”

Related: How to recycle your old electronics

The survey was conducted in December 2019, and involved 2193 mobile phone users that were “representative of the population by age, gender and region or state”.

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