India, which is the second largest market for smartphones globally is also witnessing an influx of and a burgeoning demand for pre-owned mobile phones. According to the 2016 OLX CRUST (Consumer Research on Used-Goods and Selling Trends) Survey, conducted by leading market research firm IMRB, households in the country are increasingly buying and selling pre-owned mobiles.
According to CRUST the desire to ‘upgrade’ is the primary reason for selling mobile phones for 68% of the households in India. This is followed by 27% respondents, who cited ‘boredom’ as the main reason for selling mobile phones. It is interesting to note that, 75% of the pre-owned mobile phone buyers, and 55% of the pre-owned mobile phone sellers on OLX are young millennials in the age group of 19-29 years.
Another reason for the uptake in the category is the higher value received by selling online, which according to CRUST is 25% higher than the one realized through offline selling, and 47% higher than that through exchange.
The last financial year also saw Chinese brands witnessing a spike in listings on OLX, with the listing share of market leaders as well as Indian manufactures declining. For instance, during FY 2016-17 the listing share of Xiaomi, a leading Chinese brand climbed from 4.2% to 12.8% on OLX.
According to some industry reports, there are 20 million pre-owned mobile phones in India. In terms of the quantum of listings, in FY 2016-17 OLX registered more than 9.9 million listings of mobile devices in India. In other words, every minute eighteen mobile devices are listed on OLX.As per industry estimates, approximately 80% of the pre-owned mobile phone trade is still offline. Being an unorganised sector, it is largely driven by offline sales through dealers, retailers, and shop-owners. Of the online marketplace of 4 million units, 2 million devices are ‘Marked as Sold’ on OLX. However, not all users mark their product as sold, hence the actual online share could be much higher, and in the online classifieds space it would be approximately 80%.
Every day, on an average 5,500 phones are ‘Marked as Sold’ by the users on OLX. This implies that every minute more than 3 phones get sold on OLX.
The average price of each mobile phone on OLX is INR 9,000, as compared to INR 10,000 average selling price of new smartphones sold in India in Q1, 2017. The fact that the price of new phones in India is almost equal to the price of pre-owned phones on OLX demonstrates the availability of good-quality, premium phones on the platform.
On the buy side, OLX offers a steady stream of registered buyers who increase the chances of successful transactions. OLX receives 11.2 million buyer enquires on used mobiles every month, with each mobile listing receiving double-digit unique buyer responses.
Said Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, OLX India, “Mobile phones are the most popular gateway to internet in India, especially for the new-to-net population. With high penetration, and frequent updates, consumers often upgrade to new models within months. This results in good-quality, and fairly new pre-owned phones entering the market within months of their launch. Along with the consumers we are also seeing interest from leading mobile brands, leveraging our platform to reach out to users looking to upgrade. Mobile phone is our biggest category in terms of listings, and is growing at 45% year-on-year.”
“The mobile phone market has grown rapidly in the last few years, yet it remains largely unorganized. We are the single largest player in the online space. Our biggest competition today is the unorganized offline market but there are some interesting trends to be observed there as well. We have learnt of many stories where offline buyers and dealers of pre-owned phones are using OLX to re-sell them. In other words, OLX is helping fuel entrepreneurial dreams of many offline dealers as well,” Batra added.