Despite many industries being  affected in recent months due to a global pandemic, smartphone releases aren’t slowing down. Apple recently launched a more affordable iPhone SE, complete with formidable features for a fraction of its $1,000+ flagship models—and another phone is in the works for the tech giant with an expected reveal soon. Similarly, Samsung hosted an event in San Francisco in February to ship its Galaxy smartphone. But as the product supply keeps churning out new devices, will there be demand? 

While we can try to look at past recessions to establish a benchmark for how things may progress, our last economic decline in 2008 cannot provide a proper guide as to how this one may affect mobile device sales. More than a decade ago, devices weren’t nearly as vital as they are today when it comes to connectivity—both personally and professionally. So, on one hand, unemployment rates are surging and creating a deficit in durable spending, which includes gadgets. On the other hand, mobile devices today can easily be considered more vital and advanced than they were 10+ years ago, which has been proven in recent months.

With businesses and organizations of all types closed around the world, one of the emerging trends has been the work-from-home model. As the world adapts to different methods of communication, industries are discovering that working remotely may actually be feasible—not just on an as-needed basis, but as a permanent staple: CRN recently reported that “About 74 percent of CFOs surveyed by Gartner expect some of their employees who were forced to work from home because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to continue working remotely after the pandemic ends.” As CFOs find ways to manage costs, a remote workforce—which reduces on-premises technology and real estate needs—is a great way to cut expenses. And if they move forward with a permanently remote workforce, they may need to make significant investments in devices for their employees, which could be good for brands.

Another side of the technological coin is the one that factors in the quality and life cycle of a device—so as consumers look to upgrade, they may be willing to spend more on a device that will last longer, extending its lifespan. Prior to the pandemic, global smartphone shipments had been in decline, as consumers were holding on to their phones longer. But if there’s still innovation happening, there’s a mixed batch in the market for different needs, all of which can be fulfilled:

  • Innovation will continue, creating a wave of trade-ins 
  • Consumers who may want an upgrade but don’t want the newest device can purchase a used device 
  • Both of these alternatives can offer carriers and manufacturers options for how they deal with devices

Over the next several months, we’ll see how the mobile market responds to the aftermath of the pandemic, as well as to new phone releases. 

In the meantime, there’s a secondary mobile marketthat larger carriers and OEMs can leverage to move their trade-in and excess devices. One of these channels is B-Stock. We operate the world’s largest B2B marketplace for trade-in and excess mobile phones.  Across our client marketplaces—which consist of large carriers, OEMs, and buy-back companies—we sell more than 3 million phones and more than 5 million mobile accessories every year.

For more information on selling via our mobile marketplace platform, please download our Mobile Brochure. And If you want to learn more about secondary market trends and how large carriers, OEMs, and buy-back companies are increasing the life cycle and pricing of phones via B-Stock’s B2B marketplace platform, request a demo. 

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