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iPhone SE will impact prices on used smartphones

Paul Lipscombe
April 21, 2020

Apple launch the second generation of its iPhone SE smartphone last week

Apple’s new iPhone SE could be a potential threat to the second-life market according to CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood.

“The new iPhone SE will be met with dismay by companies that refurbish and sell second-hand iPhones as it will dent the second- hand price for all previous iPhones”, said the analyst.

Wood says the discontinued the iPhone 8 could prove a challenge for resellers to shift.

“What price delta do you need between an iPhone 8 and iPhone SE to make a used 8 more attractive than a new SE with updated specs. However, Apple will also not want the second-hand market to become too big as it needs to keep selling new devices.“ added Wood.

But Nick Muir, MD of the UK arm of French iPhone refurbishing company Remade, is an optimist.

“There seems to be an underlying commentary that somehow this is a dark day for second life sellers. I disagree with that. Certainly
I wouldn’t be happy if I had a huge amount of second-hand or refurbished iPhone 8 stock.

“That is not is a good position to be in right now. That said, the market for second-hand iPhones is used to seismic shifts at the launch of a new product. Every time it resettles and moves on.

“I don’t expect the SE will threaten second hand resellers. Today’s new iPhone is tomorrow’s second hand product”.

Matt Green, director of the iOutlet director thinks the new iPhone SE could be more of a problem for distributors rather than resellers of refurbished equipment.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a worry for resellers, as ultimately the product always ends up with the public and the customers.

“It’s only a worry if your business has a commitment to hold a certain level of stock under contract where prices are agreed before this came to fruition. The SE will likely impact distributors where things are done on a contractual basis”.

Mazuma managing director Craig Smith says it is a “good thing” that Apple has launched a more affordable device.

“Some people may decide to buy a brand-new iPhone SE rather a second-life model that has upgraded specs.

“But I don’t believe that it will have a massive impact on used sales. There will always be people who would rather have a higher quality phone, albeit as a second-life one.

“This will push us to deliver the best in second life devices. We have to be aware of what’s going on, but there’s not much we can do about it.

“We could see this product come back to us in 12 or 24 months time. People who don’t buy Apple may buy this and potentially become Mazuma customers in the future”.

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