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.