US refurbished iPhone market feels impact from demand for 5G support

Analytic firm Counterpoint Research just released a fascinating report on the refurbished phone market. Care to guess which smartphone brand is the leader in this market? If you said Apple, you’re right. Counterpoint notes that top sellers in the US secondary market include phones in the iPhone 8 series, the iPhone 11 series, and the iPhone XR. But the research firm is pointing out that prices of the three aforementioned iPhone models have dropped 22% on average since the release of the iPhone 14 series.

Refurbished iPhone 13 series handsets are up in price by 11% on average after the release of the iPhone 14 line

Even though older iPhone models are dropping in price, refurbished iPhone Pro models have been seeing stronger demand ever since the new iPhone 14 line hit store shelves. Counterpoint says that some of this is due to 5G. Older phones that do not support 5G are getting cheaper while refurbished 5G handsets are in demand. The report says that those buying refurbished 5G iPhone units are using the money they are saving by purchasing a “refurb” to subscribe to a costlier 5G wireless plan.

Check this out! The Average Selling Price (ASP) for refurbished iPhone 8 series phones has declined 38% since the iPhone 14 was released. The ASP for the iPhone X series is down 23% over the same time frame, and the decline in the ASP of refurbished iPhone 11 models is 15%. The first iPhone models to support 5G, the iPhone 12 line, has seen a 10% drop in prices of refurbished units since the iPhone 14 launch. But refurbished phones from the iPhone 13 series are actually up 11% since the iPhone 14 models hit store shelves.

One reason for the decline in pricing for refurbished iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12 series models is the increasing supply of these phones as more consumers trade them in to get credit toward an iPhone 14 variant. Counterpoint has calculated that the average US consumer is holding onto his phone for 3 years and 7 months which is a longer holding period compared to the figure calculated just a few years ago.
Counterpoint comes to the conclusion that with the soft economy (and we might add, high inflation and the start of what appears to be a bear market in equities), consumers might be looking to save money by purchasing a refurbished iPhone 13 series units instead of the iPhone 14 models. This might work if you’re not a phone enthusiast and you’re buying an iPhone 13 instead of an iPhone 14 (you’ll get the same A15 Bionic chip!).
Those looking to pick up the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max might be less likely to consider a refurbished iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max. Not only do the newer models come with a new A16 Bionic chip (which cost Apple 2.4 times what it pays for the A15 Bionic), but the iPhone 14 Pro series also comes with the shape-shifting multitasking notch replacing Dynamic Island.

When buying a refurbished iPhone or Pixel model, you need to know this one piece of data!

While the Dynamic Island arguably stole Apple’s “Far out” event last month, iPhone 14 Pro series users haven’t exactly appeared to be overwhelmed by the feature now that they have had the chance to use it in real life. We should remind you that the Dynamic Island is rumored to show up on all iPhone 15 models next year, not just the Pro models like this year.

Buy the Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max and get the Dynamic Island

All of those aforementioned refurbished iPhone models did get iOS 16 which means they received the new customizable Lock Screen and Lock Screen widgets. But if you are in the market for a refurbished iPhone, keep in mind that there is a possibility that the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X could be cut off from receiving iOS 17.

Since this is not something you think about when buying a new iPhone, you might not give this a second thought. But when you are purchasing a refurbished model, and this also goes for those buying a refurbished Pixel phone, it is important to check when the phone you plan to buy will lose official support for system and security updates. For Android 14, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL lose support which means that models ranging from the Pixel 4a to the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will be in line for the next Android build.

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