The flood of new electronics from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and others creates a secondary market for resale of the buyers' old devices. eBay, Cragslist and Amazon.com are popular for this, but a new generation of sites including Gazelle, Glyde and USell have emerged to specialize in resale of phones, tablets and other such devices. There are important differences between them.
The introduction by Apple in 2012 of three new iPads and new generations of the iPhone and iPod Touch has led to a marked increase in device resale.
Reselling smartphones, tablets or any other electronic device is not a new concept. Selling your used electronics on auction sites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist for years. People have been doing that for digital eons, or at least 10 years or more.
It's different now. The influx of all the new Apple devices, plus new products from players like Samsung, HTC and Nokia as well have created unique opportunities for companies like Gazelle, USell, and Glyde, which specialize in gadget resale. Weaker economies and emerging markets in countries where a smartphone might be a user's primary computer have created unique resale opportunities for companies like these as well as for end users.
According to Drew Lieberman, CEO of Glyde, a full consumer to consumer (C2C) gadget resale site, the market right now is huge. Rapid product releases have led to dramatic increases in device resale, up to 400%+ in recent months. iPad resale rates of more than doubled on both eBay and USell.com according to the (Minneapolis) StarTribune. While traditional auction sites provide a good opportunity for users to retrieve value from gently used, recently purchased devices, resale sites offering expedited sale and payment processes are seeing great success at this time.
"Resale sites allow users to quickly sell their devices and perhaps turn a profit, especially on devices that may have been purchased under a carrier subsidy," said Lieberman. "Sites like Glyde are also easier to use as they don't require sellers to create and babysit auctions." All a Glyde seller has to do is identify his or her device and its condition. Glyde helps them determine the best selling price and immediately lists it for sale. Glyde takes a 12 percent cut of the first $100, and then an additional eight percent over $100; and charges the user $1-$3.50 for the shipping kit needed to get the device to the buyer. Glyde never handles the device; and sellers get money deposited into their Gazelle Glyde Account once the buyer receives the item and confirms its condition. Withdrawals to your bank account can be completed for free.
I recently used Gazelle to facilitate the purchase of my iPhone 5. The site is similar to Glyde's, but instead of a consumer purchasing the device, Gazelle buys devices directly from sellers. After telling Gazelle about the condition of the iPhone 4S I wanted to sell, and receiving a prepaid shipping label and box, I sent Gazelle the device. After inspecting and confirming its condition, Gazelle deposited the agreed, offered amount into my PayPal account. Users can also get paid via check or Amazon eGift Card.
However, the market price for my iPhone 4S would have been nearly $100 higher if I had sold my device through Glyde as opposed to Gazelle. While Gazelle is a great service, and they pay quickly via multiple options, they do pay quite a bit less for your old device than either Glyde or Amazon Trade-In.
The new resale options are good for everyone. Buyers win by having more options at a variety of prices. Sellers get options to recover cost of their upgrade. Even the device manufacturers, who might normally be unhappy with resale markets, win by having their regular customers more easily able to buy the newest thing more often.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story made a reference to a Gazelle account that should have said Glyde. We apologize for the error.]
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