As yen tumbles, gadget-loving Japan goes for secondhand iPhones

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As yen tumbles, gadget-loving Japan goes for secondhand iPhones
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For years Japanese customers eagerly shelled out for the most recent devices, however now a tumbling yen has put new iPhones out of attain for some and sparked a rising secondhand commerce in a significant marketplace for Apple Inc .

The Japanese forex’s fall to a 32-year low towards the greenback has squeezed customers and accelerated a broader spending shift on the planet’s no.3 economic system. Trade watchers say Japan’s customers have turn into extra open to purchasing secondhand, thanks partly to the rise of on-line public sale websites.

A employee plugs used iPhones into chargers earlier than inspecting them at an operations centre of Belong Inc, a unit of buying and selling home Itochu Corp that sells used telephones and tablets on-line, in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan October 27, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

In July, Apple hiked the value of the entry-level iPhone 13 by practically a fifth. The fundamental iPhone 14 later debuted at 20% greater than the iPhone 13 did, even because the U.S. value stayed flat at $799. Whereas the greenback has surged towards international currencies this yr, the yen has been notably hit, dropping 22%.

Salaryman Kaoru Nagase wished a brand new cellphone however couldn’t justify the value of a iPhone 14, which begins at 119,800 yen ($814). As an alternative, he purchased a used iPhone SE 2 in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district for lower than a 3rd of that.

“At greater than 100,000 yen the iPhone 14 is just too costly and I simply can’t afford it. It will be nice if the battery lasted for 10 years,” he mentioned. The iPhone SE 2, launched in 2020 however with out the twin rear digicam of the iPhone 14, was a “good steadiness” of value and options, he mentioned.

Apple declined to remark for this story. However in an annual regulatory submitting final month, it mentioned Japan gross sales fell 9% within the yr ended September 24 because of the yen’s weak spot.

Employees clear used iPhones at an operations centre of Belong Inc, a unit of buying and selling home Itochu Corp that sells used telephones and tablets on-line, in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan October 27, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Apple Chief Monetary Luca Maestri additionally acknowledged to analysts final month that the robust greenback had led to cost will increase for its merchandise in some international locations, however gross sales had nonetheless grown by double digits in Indonesia, Vietnam and different markets going through forex challenges.

Gross sales of used smartphones grew practically 15% in Japan to a document 2.1 million within the final monetary yr and are more likely to attain 3.4 million by 2026, in keeping with expertise market analysis agency MM Analysis Institute.

100,000 YEN BARRIER

Taishin Chonan purchased a used iPhone 13 after the display screen cracked on one of many two gadgets he carries for private use. The substitute has increased decision and a greater battery and digicam than the iPhone 7 he had been utilizing.

“Up till now I’d solely ever purchased new telephones, that is my first time shopping for used,” the 23-year-old mentioned. “The brand new fashions are costly.”

Even after the value hikes, the iPhone 14 bought in Japan is the most cost effective amongst 37 international locations when tax is taken under consideration, MM Analysis Institute mentioned in a September survey. Extra yen weak spot might immediate Apple to boost costs once more, the analysis agency mentioned, doubtlessly denting its hefty 50% share of Japan’s smartphone market.

The newest iPhones at the moment are priced above the 100,000 yen degree that could be a “main psychological barrier” for a lot of customers, mentioned Daisuke Inoue, chief government of Belong Inc, a unit of buying and selling home Itochu Corp. that sells used telephones and tablets on-line.

A buyer seems at a show of used cellphones in Iosys Corp’s store promoting used smartphones at Akihabara electronics district in Tokyo, Japan October 28, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Common gross sales on Belong’s Nicosuma e-commerce web site have trebled since Apple raised costs in July in comparison with the common over the earlier three months, Inoue mentioned. At Belong’s operations centre exterior of Tokyo, shipments of used telephones had been unboxed and sorted earlier than being inspected, graded and cleaned by rows of staff at lengthy tables.

The telephones had been then photographed from a number of angles on the market on-line. Belong makes use of Itochu’s international community to assist it supply used gadgets each in Japan and abroad, relying on the place the very best costs are, Inoue mentioned.

Among the gadgets are purchased from companies, comparable to tablets beforehand used for funds in cafes or shows in taxis, he mentioned.

Many Japanese have historically been cautious of secondhand objects, together with electronics, however that’s altering.

Market web site Mercari has seen robust progress in gross sales of used smartphones, whereas gross sales of dwelling home equipment and electronics have additionally grown, a Mercari, Inc spokesperson mentioned.

With Japan open once more to international vacationers, the secondhand iPhone market is getting one other enhance.

Retail chain Iosys Co Ltd has seen a surge in international vacationers shopping for used iPhones within the final two months.

“The yen simply retains weakening,” mentioned Iosys government Takashi Okuno. “That pattern of visiting Japan and shopping for an iPhone is coming again.”

($1 = 147.1200 yen)





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