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According to a Wall Street Journal analysis published Wednesday, more consumers are buying refurbished versions of previous years’ models or keeping old phones for longer, rather than opting for more expensive new models. As a result, premium smartphones such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S are now likely to have three or four owners over the course of their life.

While refurbished smartphones have long been popular in emerging markets, they’re gaining resonance in North America. Auction website B-Stock Solutions told the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. share of its smartphone auctions has grown to 93 percent, from around 50 percent five years ago

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