Pre-owned Smartphone Market In India: Xiaomi Heading To Absolute Domination

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The smartphone market in India has been experiencing plenty of changes recently. Amidst the continually increasing prices for the high-end smartphones, as aptly depicted by Apple’s iPhone XS Max, the pre-owned smartphone market in India is on the rise as well. People in India are resorting to buying pre-owned smartphones more and more. OLX India recently reported that the average selling price (ASP) for a pre-owned smartphone in India on their classifieds site went up from Rs 9,000 to Rs 11,000 in the span of a single year. This means that more and more high-end smartphones are being traded in the pre-owned market in India.

The pre-owned market is a whole new ball game when compared to the usual smartphone market. OLX’s reports on the players involved give us a lot of insights on what exactly the people want and the kind of people frequenting the classifieds site. OLX reported that the pre-owned smartphone market in India is going to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%. This means, by the end of 2020, the number of pre-owned smartphones will reach about 46 million units.

Now, amidst the battle going on between the high-end models of companies like Samsung and Apple, Xiaomi has quietly risen to become the choice of the masses. This is reiterated in the fact that Xiaomi did, in fact, topple Samsung to become the largest selling smartphone manufacturer in India in Q4 2017 and still going neck to neck in recent times. A similar trend is appearing to take shape in the refurbished smartphone market in India as well.


In the second quarter of 2018, Xiaomi’s share on OLX’s listings increased to 17.6% from the 12.8% last year. Samsung exhibited a decline in the same time period, reducing from 27% last year to 20% this year. The other significant player is Apple. But even they couldn’t sport an increase, declining from 20.4% last year to 13.2% this year.

In the financial year 2017-18, OLX recorded almost 14 million mobile phones and accessories listings. Interestingly, the mobile phone listings on the platform jumped from 2.5 million units in the April-June quarter of 2017 to 3.5 million during the same period this year. That’s registering a significant 40% YoY growth.

The Rising Pre-owned Smartphone Market In India

The recent data released by the OLX India leads us to deep down into the reason behind the sudden rise of the pre-owned smartphone market in India. The biggest one among them, as mentioned above, is the ever-increasing price bracket of the high-end smartphones. All the major smartphone manufacturers make it a point to release the newer version of their flagship high-end smartphones almost every year. This makes it hard for people to stick to one smartphone for a longer period of time. Although the consecutive variants might not be varying too much in terms of specifications and have the potential to work fine for a longer period of time, people just can’t handle using a smartphone when the newer version of that same thing is hot on the market.

IDC’s representatives recently went on record to say that the average replacement cycle of smartphones has decreased. According to IDC India, the replacement cycle used to be 14-16 months about a year back, but it has now reduced to 10-12 months only. This just gives more testament to the rate at which smartphones are getting outdated. Apple even went to the extent of discontinuing the manufacture of its ‘revolutionary’ iPhone X in just one year. Regardless of the humongous amounts of profit enjoyed by these giants, it is plain brutal for consumers who wish to stay with the trend.

Xiaomi Aims To Conquer Both The Worlds

The above data throws light on the fact that there is a market for both, the people who want to own the new models as soon as they’re released, as well as the people who wish to own high-end smartphones at a relatively lower price. But, for the masses out there, Xiaomi seems to be their go-to option, visible in its share both in the refurbished market as well as the normal smartphone market. Will this create a divide of smartphones based on financial status in the time to come? It could. All we can do is just wait and see how things unfold.



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