Covid 19 Has Pushed Users to Buy a Second Gadget for WFH and Educational Purposes


Cashify, India’s leading re-commerce marketplace, unveiled/released their fifth annual “User Behaviour whitepaper” for the pre-owned smartphone market. The whitepaper/study captures the impact the lockdown and the Indo-China conflict had on  the segment, the factors influencing consumer behavior, and the key trends and drivers of  growth in  the pre-owned smartphone market during the last year. It also reveals the differences in user behaviour across cities and brands in India.

The whitepaper/study confirmed that despite the nationwide lockdowns, the 2020 Q3 smartphone shipments in India were at 53 million units which made  it the highest-ever shipment in a quarter. Xiaomi topped the chart as the most sold smartphone brand by its users. In the pre-owner market, Mi stood as  the number one selling brand with a 26% share followed by  Apple (20%) and Samsung (16%) in  the third position, followed by Motorola (6%), VIVO(6%) and Oppo(5%). The consumers’ choice of online retailers reveals  how even offline-centric brands like Vivo and Oppo have been forced to scale up their online presence.

The paper listed Delhi (23%), Mumbai(13%), Bangalore (11%), and Hyderabad(7%) as the top 4 for sales of pre-owned smartphones. Satellite towns such as Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow have also shown robust growth and   secured top spots in the upcoming city category.


The survey received responses from close to 4000 people. Among other insights emerged from the whitepaper/survey, a majority of Indians preferred buying smartphones over laptops, 84% of them upgraded their smartphone within 14-18 months of purchase. No-cost EMI option and replacement warranty were the top criterions for purchase.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has digitally transformed our places of work and education. The companies that were resistant to the concept of a distributed workforce were forced to allow work from home so that work could still go on  while taking precautions to stop the virus spread. The education sector is a good case in point: universities and schools have been delivering distance learning as a feature for some time.  One of the most important reasons for upgrading for most smartphone users has been  the need to have a smartphone with high speed network connectivity (3G to 4G) and supporting apps for online classes and  work from home. And those who couldn’t afford a new smartphone were seen opting   for refurbished devices with Mi being the most popular among this segment.

Cashify also revealed the Truth Index for cities, measured by the percentage of smartphone users who stated the actual condition of their devices most truthfully, while putting them up for sale online. Hyderabad and Chennai topped the index with a score of 31%, followed by Bangalore at 30%. Gurgaon was the least truthful with a score of 26%.

Commenting on the whitepaper/survey, Nakul Kumar, COO & Co-Founder, Cashify, said, “A major migration from offline to online took place last year. Locked within their houses, everyone had to make do with whatever was accessible online. Work, studies and shopping all shifted to digital.

As lockdown restrictions eased and people started stepping out, our focus again was on expanding our touchpoints with smartphone users. Be it selling or buying, a majority of Indian smartphone users have come to trust platforms and services such as ours to derive maximum value out of their pre-owned smartphones. The Recommerce industry saw a surge in Q3 of 2020, for those who still preferred offline, we also launched over ten Cashify Stores in the second half of 2020 all over India. The brand has seen a definite surge in 2019-20.”

Commenting on the whitepaper/survey launch, Mandeep Manocha, Co-founder & CEO, Cashify, said, “Last year turned the tables for all of us in an unprecedented manner. With so much happening around the world, it was no less than a rollercoaster ride for all of us. Some well-known, mega brands had to shut shop in India, while some dormant ones got to see the light of day again. Lockdowns and the Indo-China conflict had an impact on the smartphone industry as well. As sentiments soured between the neighbouring countries, the interdependent smartphone markets faced new challenges. With this whitepaper, we have tried to cover the highs and lows and everything that impacted  the mobile business during this past year.”

What users like across brands?

  • iPhones are most favoured by males as they have 71% percent men users, higher than other major brands. It is mostly used by consumers in the age bracket of 25 to 34 years.
  • Samsung smartphones are mostly used by consumers within the age bracket of 25-34 years, as 34 percent users fall in this age group. About 82% users of Samsung smartphones in India are male. Samsung India enjoys the highest number of users from Delhi, about 14%. Next on the chart are Bengaluru and Hyderabad
  • Occupying the largest chunk of market in the INR 30,000+ segment, OnePlus clocked up a whopping 35% market share by the end of Q3 2019. The top user base of OnePlus is based out of Delhi, as 14% users are from the city. Mumbai and Bengaluru come next . Male users form 86% of users, and 14% are within the age group of 25-34 years.
  • Oppo’s major user base comes from the male demographic with over 80% of Oppo users being male. Although certain specs the brand boasts of do make it popular among females, its female user base in 2020 was just about 20%. Speaking of age, the maximum number of Oppo users come from the 18 to 25 year age group, which is about 36%. We also see about 33% of the brand usage coming from people within the age group of 25 to 34 years. Oppo, in India, has the highest user base from the city of Delhi, around 14%. Next on the list are Bengaluru and Mumbai.
  • Xiaomi enjoys a majorly male-dominated market with 85% percent male and 15% female users in India. Most of the Xiaomi user base in India comes from the 18 to 24 years age group, surpassing the 25 to 34 years bracket. The brand has the highest user base in New Delhi, as 14% of Xiaomi smartphone consumption comes from the capital. Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Key Insights

  • People sold their second hand phones at the average price of ₹4,217 in 2020
  • 47% of the responded bought refurbished phone from online reseller
  • Smartphones around the age of 3 years got sold the most by users
  • Nearly 62% smartphone issues are screen-related, battery issues come next with about 21%
  • 80% of the males sold their smartphones while only 20% of the females sold their smartphones in 2020
  • The number of smartphone repairs is the highest in Delhi which is over 35% in the entire country
  • Delhi (23%), Mumbai (13%), Bangalore (11%), are leading the sales/need for pre-owned smartphones
  • Satellite towns of Delhi lead the pack in the upcoming city with Faridabad and Ghaziabad taking the lead
  • Despite the smartphone market exiting 2020 at a decline of 1.7% with the shipment of 150 million units, the coming year seems promising. 40% feel that work from home and new education mandates make it crucial for individuals to own gadgets equipped enough to meet those needs.
  • No-cost EMI option, replacement warranty and  contactless delivery are the top criterions for purchase of refurbished gadgets
  • 50% chose affordability as a primary reason for buying refurbished gadget instead of a brand new one
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