Samsung is planning the launch of a new programme that will allow users to buy refurbished second hand versions of its smartphones.
The South Korea-based technology giant could unveil the scheme as early as next year, Reuters reports, as the company looks for ways to sustain its earnings momentum.
Such a scheme would bring it in line with it major smartphone manufacturing rival Apple, which has started to sell refurbished iPhones in a number of markets around the world – including major areas such as the US.
Global smartphone market growth is thought to have hit a plateau, so Samsung could be seeking to maximise its cost efficiency and maintain operating margins above ten per cent.
By selling used smartphones at lower price points, Samsung could potentially capitalise on their position as one of the most popular vendors in the world and stave off competition from companies that specialise in lower-cost products.
This is particularly the case in China, where other companies are starting to eat into Samsung's market share.
According to data from industry insight specialist Deloitte, the used smartphone market is forecast to be worth more than USD 17 billion ($22 billion) by the end of this year.
An estimated 120 million devices will have been sold or traded in to manufacturers or carriers to achieve this figure – and this accounts for approximately eight per cent of total worldwide smartphone sales.
It has been suggested that fewer major technology breakthroughs and an increasing number of incremental upgrades is behind the growth in the used smartphone market.
“Some consumers may prefer to buy refurbished, used premium models in lieu of new budget brands, possibly cannibalising sales of new devices from those budget manufacturers,” Deloitte stated in a report.
No indication was given as to how much refurbished phones would be sold for by Samsung, which markets would be targeted or how many would be sold. A spokeswoman for the company said it was policy not to comment on speculation.
It was therefore also unclear how much the refurbished phones would be altered – but such devices are typically fitted with parts such as a new casing or battery.
Apple iPhones typically have a resale value of just under 70 per cent of its original price 12 months after the initial launch.
Data from BNP Paribas indicates that the flagship Galaxy series from Samsung usually sells for around half of its original value a year after launch in the US market.