Secondhand, Not Second Best

phone Surely, technology is one of the industries that has been most transformed by an efficient online marketplace for used merchandise. The increased availability in recent years of gently used laptop computers, older yet perfectly functional desktops, and secondhand cell phones and smart phones has made all kinds of consumer electronics more affordable and ubiquitous.

It is a message that bears repeating to all those high-tech consumers out there. Remember that old notions die hard and it was not all that long ago that eBay had the unofficial tagline of “online flea market.” Given the abundance of tech items on the site today, it might be worth reminding shoppers that this is not your grandmother’s flea market. Consider some of these stats, demonstrating how often consumers turn to eBay for their electronics – in Q4 2012:

  • A cell phone sold every 4 seconds
  • An MP3 Player sold every 20 seconds
  • An LCD television sold every 3 minutes
  • A pair of headphones sold every 8 seconds
  • A GPS Device sold every minute
  • An Apple Laptop or Notebook sold every 2 minutes
  • An iPad sold every minute!

While eBay has plenty of the newest technology for sale, there are a multitude of reasons why it makes more sense than ever to buy secondhand high-tech equipment. Here are just a few:

Big Ticket/Big Savings

Often the priciest items are the ones that offer the biggest savings when sold used. A brand new iPhone 5 can run more than $700, but you can find that phone, slightly used, for a couple of hundred dollars less, and older models for under $100. Used Wii consoles can also be found for less than $100 and certain digital cameras can be found for little more than the price of a disposable camera. Similar savings can be found in almost every product category. At a time when consumers are looking to save everywhere they can, promoting gently used electronics at great price savings could push them over the purchase tipping point, rather than keep them hanging on to that old phone (or TV, etc.) for a few more months.

Old Does Not Mean Obsolete

The constant upgrades for which so many technology manufacturers are known makes the word “old” a relative term. There will always be a market for spanking new products right off the assembly line, but for consumers in the market for a second flat screen television, or a laptop for a school age child whose only needs are light research and occasional word processing, buying used puts more products within reach.

Recycling is Good for the Environment

Most consumers are by now on board with recycling paper, bottles and cans but there is at least as much reason to encourage reuse of heavy technology equipment. According to one estimate, 50 million tons of electronic waste are generated every year. There are different ways to recycle the individual components of consumer electronics products, but one of the most efficient ways is to encourage reuse of the whole product. Those consumers who consider buying used rather than always buying new play a big role in encouraging reuse by creating a vibrant market place for this equipment.

So get out there and let your customers know about the many reasons that secondhand is not second best!