Refurbished is the future – for Apple and the world

Vianney Vaute, Forbes:

While at first glance a growing refurbished electronics marketplace may seem like a threat to manufacturers peddling their new gadgets, Apple actually has much to gain from the growth and health of the circular economy. Just as well—because for better or for worse, money talks.

Tim Cook has long factored in the refurbished market in Apple’s long-term game plan. He told us so himself in a 2014 Q3 earnings call when talking about trade-ins (which result in traded iPhones being resold to more price-sensitive consumers). Cook said: “The secondary market is very key and we’re doing programs et cetera to try to increase that because we think we wind up hitting a customer that we don’t hit in another way.” Fast-forward to 2016 and we saw Apple rolling out a program selling refurbished iPhones worldwide.

Data from Back Market, a refurbished electronics marketplace, shows that 84% of the products it sold are Apple products. A poll of these Apple buyers shows that 12% of them had not previously bought Apple products before, and 87.8% of them would not have purchased an Apple device if it had not been heavily discounted. 80.5% of the respondents said that if their experience went well, they would be more willing to buy new Apple gadgets in the future. As Cook had already anticipated, refurbished is an excellent way to acquire new customers while preserving the brand’s image and premium pricing.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a win-win for Apple and the world. Apple grows by getting its products into hands that may never have tried an Apple product. (And we all know what happens when someone finally tries an Apple product.) And the world benefits in terms of less pollution in terms of mining, production, etc.


  1. THIS is what I do 🙂 All my iPhones have been used/refurbs. I do my iOS stuff on iPad mostly, so I don’t need big expensive new iPhone that costs as much as my MacBook Air. My current iPhone is 5S (64GB) purchased for $140 (total cost). My next iPhone will probably be SE and they’re already in similar price range. One good thing is same cases fit. Maybe during holidays…

  2. One of the problems I see with Apple’s refurbished sales is that many of the items listed are not discounted at all. You might as well by new (non refurbished) for those items. You’d think Apple could knock off $100 on a nearly $10,000 iMac Pro for it being refurbished.

  3. Maybe things are better now, but I purchased a refurbished MBP (15 inch, mid 2012) during model changeover. The motherboard had to be replaced twice after near-death experiences. Fortunately, the third board was the charm and it is still performing OK. I’d be reluctant to go refurbished on a laptop–maybe OK on a phone.

  4. I also believe that the demand for refurbished and post-lease equipment will increase in the future, for example, refurbished laptops are devices completely free of defects, bugs. I bought a post-lease Dell Latitude 5480 laptop and it is one of the most durable laptops I have had

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.