One of South Africa’s most popular local selling websites, Gumtree, says local consumers are sitting on a goldmine as their unused smartphones could be worth billions.

Estelle Nagel, brand marketing manager at Gumtree, says: “ICASA’s State of the ICT Sector report shows that South Africa’s smartphone penetration increased from 81,7% in 2018 to 91,2% in 2019. Predictions are on track for our market to exceed the 100% threshold by mid-2021.

“Many people upgrade their smartphones if on contract, or buy a new one to keep up with the latest technology or to get the most updated phone features. While some might give their perfectly decent old phone away, there are a lot who don’t do anything with them. There is a lucrative second hand phone market, so we advise you try and sell them instead.” currently has 13 292 cell phones listed for sale countrywide. This is segmented by brand with the bulk of those listings being hardware from the country’s three most popular smartphone manufacturers: Samsung (4 438 phones), Apple (4 377 iPhones) and Huawei (2 377 phones).

Nagel says: “Our research into phone pricing on Gumtree shows that that R4 500.00 is the median value for a listing. Multiply this by the current number of live smartphone listings reveals a figure just shy of R60-million, suggesting that South Africans are sitting on an estimated R940-million worth of listable, sellable, pre-loved handsets.”

Western Cape residents have over 4 600 phones listed on Gumtree at the moment, and seem to be the most comfortable with listing their previously-loved mobile phones online. Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal phone sellers are hot on their digital heels, while the Eastern Cape is starting to dip its toe in the lucrative second-hand smartphone space.

“Our economy is depressed and in recession due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and everyone could use some extra cash in hand to support monthly expenses. 

“There’s no easier way to generate some extra household income than by actively finding and parting with a spare smartphone or any other consumer technology that’s gathering dust, in exchange for cash,” says Nagel.

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