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Refurbished gadgets become more popular

Lucie Spraggs's picture

It is no secret that the smartphone market has stalled in recent times, with even Chinese handset sales declining 14 per cent last year.

But there is one market that is offsetting the trend – that of refurbished smartphones.

Refurbished mobile phones continue to grow in popularity, according to research from CCS Insight, with 60 per cent of UK consumers considering a pre-owned purchase. The increasing cost of devices, coupled with a perceived lack of innovation in the market, has led to longer refresh cycles and slowing sales of flagship handsets. Many consumers are happier with older models and unwilling to pay for expensive handsets when looking for a new phone. These trends, along with an increased focus on sustainability, have led to growth in the refurbished market and an increase in the quality and availability of pre-owned devices.

Mazuma refurbished - device comes in branded orange box with Mazuma accessories

In the last 3 months alone we've seen an increase in the percentage of refurbished devices being insured:

Percentage of Refurbished Devices InsuredNewRefurbished020406080100May, 2020June, 2020July, 2020
City New Refurbished
May, 2020 11 89
June, 2020 11 89
July, 2020 14 86

What gadgets can be bought refurbished?

It isn't just phone sales that are being affected by this phenominon. Consumers are opting to lots of different devices refurbished too: iPads, games consoles, headphones, cameras and loads more.

So, what gadgets can you get a great deal on?

  1. Mobile Phones
  2. iPads & Tablets
  3. Macbooks and laptops
  4. Smartwatches
  5. Games Consoles
  6. iPods and MP3s
  7. Headphones and Headsets
  8. Cameras and Camcorders
  9. E-Readers

Where to buy refurbished devices?

Refurbished products don’t usually get the spotlight from retailers like Amazon. You also won’t find them sitting on the homepage of Apple, Google, Nintendo, Sonos, or Olympus, to name a few. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find refurbs on these sites. Here are some places to try.

  • Mazuma offers a great selection of refurbished phones and gadgets with 12 month warranties. They will also give you money for old devices, so if you're keen for an upgrade or just fancy making a few bob. Check out their website. (Mazuma are currently only buying devices (not selling), due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Amazon Warehouse is the section of the retailer’s site dedicated to used (though it's worth noting you will find it hard to get insurance on a used/2nd hand device), refurbished products — or “renewed,” as Amazon calls it. If you shop regularly for tech on Amazon, you stand to save some money here.
  • eBay is another good source for refurbished tech of all kinds. Official reseller pages from brands like Nintendo exist, which you can trust for selling high-quality refurbished products.
  • Apple has one of the best refurbishment programs around. All of the products sold as refurbished will arrive in “like new” condition with at least 15 percent in savings compared to the cost of a brand-new device. Products will ship in a white box with all of the original accessories. In addition to having a one-year warranty, you can purchase AppleCare for your refurbished purchase. Just to give you an idea of the level of care Apple puts into its refurbs: it replaces the battery and the outer shell of all iOS devices.
  • Nintendo usually sells refurbished Nintendo Switch consoles through a page that’s somewhat hidden. It’s currently sold out due to the demand spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic. In normal situations, you’d be able to save some money on a refurbished unit.
  • Music Magpie is another buy and sell service, they will buy a wide range of products (not just gadgets) and sell them on to people who want them. This is a great way of decluttering, even if you're not after a new device. One man's trash is another man's treasure!