Over the past few decades, the evolution of technology has proven useful in every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional. Simultaneously, it has also become necessary for most of us to use laptops, computers, smartphones, and other digital devices at our workplace and home to keep up with the world.
However, the cost of brand new devices may not be affordable to many. Hence, several people look for low-cost alternatives, hand-me-downs, and refurbished products.
Today, several businesses and some leading players offer refurbished smartphones, laptops, and other devices at low prices. As per various manufacturers and product dealers, refurbished goods are processed to improve their performance and quality as brand new products. They also suggest that refurbished products are as reliable and secure as new products. However, buyers need to do their due diligence and only purchase from a reputable source.
Nonetheless, people’s growing dependence on technology and machines has boosted the global refurbished products’ market.
What Are Refurbished Products?
Refurbished is the term for repaired or recertified products for resale. These products can vary according to the industry. For instance, in the computer industry, refurbished items vary from laptops to desktops.
While the terminology changes, the idea remains the same. Refurbished products could have easily been opened and returned to a store or manufacturer for a breakdown or fault that was then resolved before selling again.
The refurbished products are available at discounted or reduced prices from the brand-new goods since in most countries, a bought and opened product can no longer be sold as new and must be sold as refurbished instead. However, they often lack some of the essential processing features like less disk space, less RAM, the latest generation, etc. The refurbishing process takes them off the rapidly moving market for a few months. And it is also difficult to know why the product made its way to refurbished status or what process was done to the device to certify it as refurbished.
But, people with financial concerns to purchase the desired products are increasingly adapting to refurbished products to fulfill their needs. Additionally, several brands have also started offering a return feature for the products in case consumers find it difficult to deal with an old product; they can easily replace them. Hence, the market for refurbished goods is expected to expand in the near future (1, 2, 3).
Are Refurbished Products and Used Products Same?
No, they are not at all similar. Notably, refurbished products are quality checked after any minor repairs done to “faulty” products. On the other hand, used products, as the name hints, have been used by their previous owners for a period. They are not checked, unlike refurbished products which carry a quality certificate and a warranty.
Why are Refurbished Products Getting Popular?
Certified and Assured Options
Most refurbished products come with certified and assured options. These products are certified when they pass the quality check process to look and function similar to new products—such options aid in driving consumers’ faith towards the refurbished product and the market.
Buyback, Warranty, and EMI Options
The refurbished market also offers exciting discounts, doorstep delivery, no-cost EMI, warranty, demo options, product installation, and buyback options as the market for brand new products. Such options simplify consumers’ lives as brands take care of the entire process, which also helps build brand goodwill and loyalty.
Value for Money
Amid the pandemic, people have reduced their budgets and are looking to fulfill their immediate requirements only. A refurbished item, which is as good as a new device at a comparatively lower price, makes an ideal alternative for them.
With global warming and other natural calamities haunting our planet, people globally follow the idea of reusing to reduce waste. While refurbished products are not the only answer to the issue, it is a kind of resource efficiency that effectively reduces the pressure on our environment.
New gadgets are launched every other week, and the rise of such new tech is proportional to the expanding aspirations of consumers. Purchasing refurbished devices allow upgrading to better quality and the latest features at a much lower price (4, 5).
Refurbished Computer Market
According to the Refurbished Computer and Laptop Market report, 2021-2031 from Transparency Market Research (6), the global market for refurbished laptops and computers would reach eight billion USD by 2031 at an 11% CAGR.
The report highlights that improvements in affordability, functionality, and demand for refurbished products from the IT and ITES sectors are the major factors fueling the market.
Another report on Global Refurbished PC Market Research 2021 by MarketResearch (7) states that the market was valued at 9,340.22 million USD in 2020 and would reach 14,773.12 million USD by 2027, swelling at a 6.8% CAGR between 2021 and 2027.
Correspondingly, in a report published by KDMI, KD Market Insights on the global Refurbished Computers and Laptops market (8), the market size would register a 9.4% CAGR between 2020 to 2025. It would capture a market opportunity of 14,247.76 million USD between the same period. As per the report, the demand for refurbished PCs and laptops is rising because of the work from home and distance learning culture amid the pandemic.
Refurbished Smartphone Market
According to a Used and Refurbished Smartphone Market report published by Research and Markets (9), the market would grow at a 12.61% CAGR between 2020 to 2025, driven by improvements in collection methods, smartphone repairing, grading, and its online and offline selling.
The report highlights that the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has boosted the cheaper refurbished smartphone segment, which had been shrinking over the past few years, as people are cutting back on discretionary spending and purchasing products, including smartphones, only for immediate requirements.
Asia-Pacific region is one of the major markets for refurbished smartphones, considering their rapidly growing telecom sector and huge consumer base, states the report. Countries such as India, China, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are investing in developing the domestic telecom market, further fueling the refurbished smartphones in the region, currently dominated by Samsung and Apple.
As per CashForPhone (10), the refurbished smartphone market would be a 67 billion USD industry worldwide by the end of 2023. The report also highlights the massive demand for pre-owned smartphones in India, making it one of the rapidly growing market hubs for refurbished phones worldwide. Moreover, the tech-enabled user penetration would hit 20.3% by 2023 from 15% in 2020.
In addition, the report suggests that most of the sales for refurbished and second-hand phones sales boom during the festive season in India with the highest sales in New Delhi, 18%, followed by Bengaluru, 13%, Mumbai 12%, Hyderabad, 7%, and other regions making up more than 25%.
Notably, Apple makes up over 20% market share in India’s refurbished smartphone market, even though its actual market share is less than 5% in India, as per Cashify survey (11).
Below are some examples of the pricing of refurbished smartphones from Cashify (12):
Harsh Talwar, the CEO of Cash For Phone (13), points out that the market of used phones and refurbished phones is growing four to five times faster than the cumulative comprehensive market in India. There is a massive demand for second-hand and refurbished phones, making it one of the most prominent market hubs worldwide, which grew over 9% last year.
The Refurbished Medical Equipment Market
As per a report from The Business Research Company (14), the worldwide refurbished medical equipment market size is likely to grow from 10.77 billion USD in 2020 to 12.52 billion USD by the end of 2021 at a 16.29% CAGR. The refurbished and used medical equipment market would reach 20.28 billion USD by 2025 at a 12.8% CAGR.
The preferred cost-cutting measures of healthcare entities are fueling the market growth. Moreover, since refurbished products need a lower upfront capital, healthcare providers can offer services at more affordable costs.
The report further highlights that North America was the prominent region in the market in 2020 while predicting that the Asia Pacific region would record the fastest growth over the forecast years.
The sales of refurbished medical equipment by organizations, traders, and partners make the refurbished medical equipment market that makes refurbished medical equipment, which is used after refurbishing and installing without modifying its intended use and replacing of damaged or worn parts. Similar to smartphones and computers, these devices are also tested for quality control and commonly processed to have long-term use.
Another report from Polaris Market Research Analysis (15) suggests that the industry’s value would increase to 21.14 billion USD by 2027. The increasing demand for cost-effective medical equipment, adoption for refurbished equipment in the private healthcare sector, extended service life, growth of e-commerce, and tax incentives are the main drivers for the market growth.
Refurbished medical equipment also includes second-hand equipment restored to original condition without any changes to the specifications. The effectiveness and safety of the products are comparable to the new ones. In the refurbishment process for the medical equipment, they undergo processes like calibration, decontamination, software upgrade, repair, cosmetic rehabilitation, worn parts replacements, and other procedures to match the OEM specifications.
Since these pieces of equipment undergo a complete set of industrial procedures and come with lower prices and manufacturer warranty, they make a good alternative to new devices. The refurbished medical equipment is often as low as 30% to 70% of the original equipment cost, considering their features, age, and condition. Additionally, it allows hospitals to upgrade their capabilities at a lower cost.
Notably, in India, less sophisticated healthcare centers often prefer used and refurbished medical equipment because of budgetary concerns, making it one of the lucrative markets.
Purchasing Refurbished Products from Amazon
Notably, Amazon India has a separate section for refurbished products. The leading ecommerce player in the Indian market had joined hands with surpluss.in, an online platform that sells refurbished phones from leading manufacturers.
Apart from smartphones, laptops, and Amazon products, Amazon India also offers refurbished products in categories like Home and Kitchen appliances, office products, video games, watches, personal care products, jewelry, sports, gym, fitness, and other health equipment.
Notably, apart from Amazon India, other popular platforms selling refurbished products include:
- 2GUD by Flipkart
It is worth noting that the Indian refurbished market has largely been unorganized; however, it has seen a vast growth in the last few years. According to industry experts, the trend is surged by the diminishing life cycles and increasing high prices of automobiles, smartphones, and other electronic devices (16).
Starting a Refurbished Products Business
Starting a refurbished products store is a lucrative business option that also offers a good way to reduce e-waste and having a social impact (17).
Starting a refurbished business requires three primary steps:
- Partnering with sellers, and manufacturers to source devices and products with minor defects
- Refurbishing them
- Selling the refurbished products online/offline at a lower price with necessary certificates and warranty
Other Lucrative Opportunities in Refurbishing Business – h3
Apart from smartphones, automobiles, computers, medical equipment, and other electronic gadgets, there are several other business options entrepreneurs can consider, including:
- Antique Furniture Refurbishing: You can sell old and broken furniture pieces by reassembling and redecorating them into chairs, tables, dressers, etc. You can also fully restore a valuable and antique piece of furniture.
- Porcelain Repairing and Refurbishing: You can fix cracks and chips in porcelain accessories. At the same time, you can also start selling DIY porcelain-repair kits, tutorials, classes, and newsletters.
- Windshield Repair and Refurbishing: It is a part of the automobile refurbishing business where you can collaborate with used car marketplaces to repair and refurbish chipped, cracked, and damaged windshields.
From the trend, it seems that the young generation is not shying away from purchasing “slightly soiled” products as long as it comes with a good guarantee and warranty. And with refurbished products promoting greener conventions, it looks like the industry is set to peak in India and globally in the upcoming years.