Brazil’s Love Affair with Smartphones


Brazil is often associated with spicy food, traditional music and, of course, wonderful dancing. There’s another side to Brazil, though; one that has tech companies like Apple and others literally salivating. Brazil is among the top five markets for smartphones in the world, and the market is growing faster than any region outside Asia, according to The Economist.

But the love affair between Brazil and smartphones is not a perfect romance, by any means.

Love and Money: It’s Complicated

In Brazil, the average household has an adjusted disposal income of about $10,300, according to OECD Better Life Index. That’s not a lot of money to play around with, by any means—especially when you take into account that a new iPhone can cost as much as $1,200 depending on the model. It’s not necessarily the cost of the phone that’s a problem, however; it’s the tariffs and taxes taking up about 45% of the cost that’s the real issue.

How do Brazilians make do? Some find an iPhone in the United States for sale and pay someone to bring it into the country for a fee. There are simply no affordable options available for tech-hungry Brazilians. It’s either pay the exorbitant price or skirt around the law and risk paying stiff fines and import taxes.

And Then There Are Technical Problems

According to EIN NewsDesk, Brazilian smartphone users have a few complaints about their phones. Battery life is the biggest problem, with 50% of users being unhappy with how long they can use their phone on a charge. Memory issues plague a quarter of them, and the remaining 25% wish for better Internet browsing. These kinds of complaints and problems are found in just about all markets, but it’s likely caused more by outdated technology in Brazil than in the United States. As more advanced versions, like the iPhone 6, become available, these figures might change.

Recommerce Offers an Affordable Solution

For Brazilians who want to own a smartphone, but can’t necessarily part with over a thousand dollars to get one, buying used is a good option. Americans trade-in and discard thousands of smartphones a year, so there is plenty of supply to meet the demand. According to an article in Forbes, a used smartphone typically has a street value of around 1/3 of the original price across the board. It makes good financial sense therefore for the Brazilian consumer to purchase a used smartphone, and it opens up a huge market for recommerce companies within the U.S. as well.

Brazil isn’t the only South American country to become entranced by the smartphone. Businesses using an innovative recommerce program are in a position to not only help more people in emerging markets get a smartphone at an affordable price, but also to encourage economic growth on American soil. That’s why we specialize in working with small businesses in the United States to purchase unwanted smartphones, refurbishing them and either reselling them in emerging markets or recycling them.

If you want to learn more about how recommerce works and how your small business can benefit from buying used smartphones, contact us. Our expert staff will be happy to answer all of your questions and explain how our exclusive services can benefit you.

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Justin Finkelstein

Co-Founder & CTO at Sourcely; server swiss army knife; flavor architect; the wildcard.