1 in 3 Brits now own refurbished phone, survey shows


  • Mobile phones top the list of tech items Brits would buy refurbished
  • Cutting costs (47%) and being more sustainable (37%) cited as main motivators for doing so
  • Vodafone has extended its range of refurbished phones to meet growing demand as searches for refurbished devices are up by 39%

New research from Vodafone reveals Brits are becoming second-hand-savvy, with 32% now owning a refurbished phone and 24% planning on purchasing one in the future.

A fifth (21%) claim they always consider second-hand or refurbished options when shopping in general, with 47% claiming new items are simply too expensive and 40% saying the rising cost of living is a key factor driving them towards pre-loved items.

In fact, 39% of Brits say they are now more likely to shop second-hand as a result of the cost of living crisis.

When it comes to tech, mobile phones top the poll of items that Brits would buy refurbished or second-hand, closely followed by laptops (26%), TVs (22%) and tablets (21%). Gen-Z are the generation most likely to invest in a refurbished device (61%) compared to just 21% of Boomers.

On the whole, consumer confidence in second-hand shopping is rising, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that second-hand shopping helped boost 2.4% growth in non-food sales in February. And this is the case for refurbished phones, with searches up 39% on the Vodafone website in the last six-months alone.

The study shows the main motivators for purchasing a refurbished device include being more sustainable (37%) and cutting down on costs (47%) while 51% say they are investing in second-hand devices as they believe they are as good as new.

As the cost-of-living remains a worry across the nation, 57% of Brits are actively looking for savvy ways to save on big purchases such as a mobile phone. 

When looking at motivators for purchasing pre-loved items, the research highlighted that 37% of respondents would consider a refurbished phone to be more sustainable and 47% to save money. The research also reveals Brits’ key factors for consideration when buying a refurbished device, which include the item being in pristine condition (47%), comes with a warranty (47%), has a battery guarantee included (39%) and above all, saves them money (59%).

But for the 42% who are refurbished-averse, quality of the device (65%), concerns it won’t last as long (45%) and worrying about data breaches (27%) came out as the top reasons the nation wouldn’t purchase a second-hand device.

To give customers peace of mind, Vodafone says it only offers high-quality refurbished handsets in ‘Great’ or ‘Pristine’ condition. Every phone comes with a 32-point check, a two-year warranty, battery guarantee and a device health check. Every phone has also been deep cleaned and securely data wiped. Vodafone’s 14-day no-quibble money back guarantee applies.

Says Max Taylor, Chief Commercial Officer, Vodafone UK:

“More people than ever are now considering refurbished devices so they can get a great value phone and be friendlier to the planet. With our market-leading two-year warranty, 32-point health check, and Vodafone EVO, the UK’s best smartphone plan, buying a refurbished phone from Vodafone gives customers peace of mind and flexibility.”

Adds Kester Mann, Director of Consumer and Connectivity at CCS Insight:

“It’s great to hear that Vodafone is extending its range of refurbished smartphones at a time of growing financial strain on UK households. Buying pre-owned offers significant cost savings, while Vodafone’s two-year warranty gives reassurance over device quality and reliability. Refurbs also promote more sustainable behaviour by reducing e-waste, something that is becoming increasingly important to consumers.”

Chris Price
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