Japanese Consumers Prefer to Buy Secondhand iPhones Due to Weakening Currency

secondhand iphones

Gadget-loving Japanese consumers are reportedly turning to secondhand iPhones instead of new models. The tumbling yen is weakening the spending power of Japanese consumers and making it harder for them to afford the high prices of new iPhone models.

Japanese Secondhand iPhone Sales Soar

Reuters reported that the Japanese currency fell to a 32-year low against the dollar. This squeezed consumers and heightened a broader spending shift among Japanese consumers. Industry analysts saw these Japanese consumers becoming more open to buying secondhand items, such as iPhones. Thanks to the proliferation of online auction sites, Japanese consumers found an alternative source for their gadget needs.

Take the case of Kaoru Nagase, who couldn’t afford the price of the iPhone 14. Instead of forcing himself to shell out 119,800 yen ($814), he opted to buy a used iPhone SE 2 in Akihabara District, Tokyo’s used electronics marketplace. He spent less than a third of the price of a new iPhone SE 2.

Nagase told Reuters, “At more than 100,000 yen the iPhone 14 is too expensive and I just can’t afford it.” It would be fine if the battery lasted for 10 years. The iPhone SE 2, released in 2020 but without the dual rear camera of the iPhone 14, was a “good balance” of cost and features,” says Nagase.

Strong Dollar Weakening Other Currencies’ Spending Power

Apple CFO Luka Maestri acknowledged that the strong dollar caused the increase in iPhone prices in many countries. Despite this, iPhone sales still grew by double digits in some countries including Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries that are experiencing weakening currency problems. Interestingly, in the Japanese smartphone market, the sales of used smartphones grew nearly 15% to a record 2.1 million in the last financial year. MM Research Institute predicts that this figure to reach 3.4 million by 2026.

The prediction is not far from happening since Japanese consumers’ behavior is changing. Many Japanese consumers no longer fear buying secondhand items including iPhones. And with the opening of Japan to foreign tourists, the sale of secondhand iPhones will continue to grow. Most foreign tourists also partake of secondhand items the moment they arrived in Japan, according to Japanese retail chain Iosys Co Ltd. Its executive Takashi Okuno said as the Yen keeps weakening, “that trend of visiting Japan and buying an iPhone is coming back.”

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