Hot market for used iPads
The release of Apple's fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini this month has created a booming resale market for used tablets, spawning a virtual yard sale where eager fanboys can get a bundle of cash to put toward their next Apple purchase.
The third-generation iPad, labeled obsolete by some customers annoyed with the quick release of its successor, is selling for more than $400 in some resale markets. Buyback websites have jumped at the chance to turn a healthy profit on the tablet.
The iPad resale market is relatively new — the device is less than 3 years old — but is flush with opportunity. Online marketplaces such as Gazelle and uSell.com, which buy and sell used electronics, saw a huge spike in third-generation iPad sales immediately after Apple announced its upgrade in late October.
“Our site just kind of blew up,” said Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer at Gazelle.
Now almost three weeks later, some buyback companies say the third-generation iPad is still their hottest product. And gadget websites are not the only ones turning a pretty penny; tablet owners can take comfort in knowing they can get serious cash for their used iPad.
Some Apple customers protested upon hearing that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company would release a fourth iPad just seven months after the third generation hit stores. Hundreds of dollars down the drain, they said, on a product that became obsolete in less time than a gym membership expires.
But the fuss may have been overstated. While iPad owners can't make back all of what they spent, some websites are offering $300 to $400 for the 32GB version and up to $500 for 64GB. The average price on eBay is $530.
The third-generation iPad cost $499 to $829 new.
BTIG research analyst Walter Piecyk said the secondhand iPad market is a “growing phenomenon.”
Many customers have not figured out that the iPad has a strong resale value, and there are people who will happily scoop up an older version.
“It's a new opportunity,” he said. “There's real money in it for people.”
Daniel Brauser, founder and president of uSell, said Apple fans should use the money they make off their iPad to subsidize a fourth-generation purchase, which has comparable pricing to the third.
“People are ready to get the next latest and greatest on this short product cycle, and they don't realize it, but there's a lot of value left over,” he said.
But enough consumers have discovered the gadget resale world for buyback sites to see sharp gains. Average sales for the third-generation iPad doubled on uSell during the two weeks after Apple's announcement, Brauser said. He said the device has one of the highest profit margins; the company makes more than $20 per sale.
eBay also saw a nearly double increase in the number of third-generation iPad listings immediately after Apple presented its new tablets last month, a company spokesman said.
Gazelle, which buys and resells Apple products, had a 450 percent increase in sales of old iPads. More than three-quarters of those sales were third-generation tablets.
“Anytime Apple releases something new, we see a huge spike not only in (Web) traffic but in the number of gadgets,” Scarsella said. “It's great for us.”
While prices are likely to fall as the tablets age, analysts don't expect this resale boom to be short-lived. Emerging markets, particularly Latin America and Asia, where Apple products are less available and often too expensive for consumers, will continue to drive demand.
“Clearly, there's a pretty big population of people who don't think that the third generation is such a terrible product that they don't want to buy it,” said Stephen Baker, a consumer technology analyst with research firm NPD Group.
And the life span of an iPad is significantly longer than Apple's biannual upgrades might suggest. The high-end device does not have a plastic case or flimsy screen found in some competing tablets, Scarsella said. iPads can be passed down over three or four years and to as many owners before ending up in the landfill.
“Everybody wants Apple products,” Scarsella said. “Apple products just hold their demand really well.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Stocks bounce back from big losses to close relatively flat
- Kennametal expects to consolidate plants as it shrinks manufacturing in continuing streamlining; profit drops
- GNC to convert more stores to franchises as sales, profits slip
- Muni bond funds stressed
- Range Resources cuts workforce 11%
- EPA ordered to ease limits on cross-border air pollution that involves Pennsylvania
- U.S. Steel CEO expects rebound
- PPG puts brand 1st in strategy to reach commercial paint market
- Post-Gazette offers voluntary buyouts in bid to avoid layoffs
- Travelers find direct Web route to Priory’s spirited past in North Side
- Voice-assisted technology raises privacy concerns