Canada’s growing secondhand smartphone market value is at 1.4 million units


Used smartphones are becoming more commonplace, according to the International Data Corporation

In its latest Canada-centric report, the market research group says about 5.3 percent of the Canadian smartphone market is made up of used devices. That is, devices that have been handed down or sold by the original purchaser.

Currently the market for second-hand smartphones is about 1.4 million units, a number IDC says will grow over the next few years based on information the firm gathered after surveying a number of Canadian households. When asked what they would do with their current device, 21 percent of Canadians said they would either give or sell their smartphone to a friend, family member or stranger, while another 6 percent said they would take to websites like Craigslist and Kijiji to offload their device.

The main factor behind the trend, according to IDC’s Krista Collins, is the emergence of bigger and higher quality devices like the iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy S6 and their recent successors. Most Canadian smartphone users feel comfortable holding onto these type of devices for a greater length of time than the two year contract they signed to obtain those devices in the first place, says Collins.

Buying a used device offers Canadians a number of other advantages. Chief among is the ability for a person to get a high-end device without singing a contract. On the flip side, those who do decide to buy a new smartphone on contract can recoup some of the cost of their device when they sell it at a later date.

On a more macro level, more used devices making their way into the smartphone market also means reduced demand for new phones, a trend that’s likely to compound the effects of a maturing market. IDC ends its report by saying that companies like Apple and Samsung, as well as the carriers that sell their devices, will have to find a way to capitalize on the number of Canadians — and smartphone users around the world — who buy phones off contract.