The smartphone industry has a culprit to blame for slumping sales: Its old devices remain too popular. Flashy phones of yesteryear, particularly Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S handsets, are getting refurbished, and U.S. consumers are snapping them up. Many shoppers are balking at price tags for new phones pushing $1,000, and improvements on latest launches in many cases haven’t impressed.
“Smartphones now resemble the car industry very closely,” said Sean Cleland, director of mobile at B-Stock Solutions Inc., the world’s largest platform for trade-in and overstock phones, based in Redwood City, Calif. “I still want to drive a Mercedes, but I’ll wait a couple of years to buy the older model. Same mentality.”