Apple and other smartphone makers also offer their own trading programs, as do some third-party resellers. Apple currently offers discounts of up to $ 500 on the iPhone 12 line if you sell your old smartphone, depending on its age and condition.
The value of exchanging old smartphones can be surprisingly high, as the exchange has become an important element of the device life cycle. In addition to enabling users to get a new phone for a fraction of the price, it helps companies increase sales by provoking more frequent upgrades, provides carriers with a way to lure customers into long-term contracts, supplies more affordable devices for secondary markets, and provides raw materials for reusable materials. to make new phones cleaner.
The impetus for renewal
Retail applications give wireless network operators and manufacturers a way to attract new customers and prevent existing customers from giving up their products – as we saw in the free AT&T deal for the iPhone.
“This is probably closest to the resurgence of subsidies that were distributed in the United States when the iPhone first appeared on the market,” said David McQueen, director of research at technical consulting firm ABI Research.
The main problem, which aims to solve the problems of trade, is the growing tendency of smartphone users to delay their devices longer, often skipping one or two models (sometimes even more) before buying a new one.
“Motivation of subscribers to upgrade smartphones has been a problem for the past few years, as most flagships are little different from their predecessors,” McQueen said.
“At the moment, there seems to be no real reason shown [carriers] upgrade to 5G, in addition to the fact that it is sold as just another “G”, – added McQueen.
It is too early to know how well the iPhone 12 line will sell, but if 5G is not very attractive, the exchange can help make additional updates.
Back on the market
Smartphones often have a shelf life and usefulness that far exceeds the frequency of new models, giving companies an additional source of revenue even for older devices.
McQueen says phones that are not resold by smartphone operators or companies can also get insurance companies to replace lost or damaged devices for their customers or send them to emerging markets, where consumers tend to be more attentive. to the price.
According to analysts, the programs also sell refurbished phones to users who want to buy slightly older premium models.
“[It’s] such as the used car market; there are some people who prefer to have an older Mercedes than the 2021 Hyundai, said Ross Rubin, chief analyst at Reticle Research. “It allows them to be more ambitious, in a sense, without having to pay $ 700 or more to buy for the current generation.”
What matters inside
Another reason why old phones are valuable to companies is that they have them.
Apple is working to limit the environmental impact of its large-scale global manufacturing operations by expanding recycling programs and committing to becoming completely carbon-neutral by 2030.
“Manufacturers put more emphasis on this, they talk about recycled materials that they use to make their phones,” Rubin said.