Flipkart has launched 2GUD, an online marketplace for refurbished electronics, after shuttering the operations of eBay India. 2GUD’s offerings don’t entirely replace eBay India, which used to sell everything from consumer electronics to snacks not available in India, new as well as refurbished. 2GUD is only available on mobile at the moment, and the desktop version will be released soon, the company said.
Refurbished electronics are practically-new goods that were returned by their first customer and then ‘restored’ to new condition. They are generally available at a steep discount, even though their condition isn’t significantly different from that of a brand new phone.
Refurbished goods and Apple
Selling refurbished phones is legal in India. Amazon does it under the Amazon Renewed brand name, and Snapdeal has a section for it too. However, importing refurbished electronics is not. Platforms like 2GUD will only be allowed to deal in electronics that were initially defective in India. This is a significant factor for both the refurbished phone market as well as Apple. At one point, iPhones accounted for 40% of the refurbished phone market in India as recently as two years ago.
Apple failed in getting the Indian government to reconsider its ban on importing pre-owned hardware. Since Apple faces steep duties and taxes in India, getting permission to sell refurbished phones would significantly drive up its sales in India. This would also expand the refurbished handset market as a whole. However, perceptions of this as ‘dumping e-waste’ in India have been a major impediment in refurbished phones’ overall market size.