Let’s face it, once a new iPhone or Blackberry comes to market, consumers are drawn to toss the old device in the junk drawer and pick up an upgrade right away. This “out with the old, in with the new” attitude results in consumers hoarding about $34 billion in old cellphones, according to a survey provided by MSN Money.

The lifetime of an electronic item is not proportional to the time it takes for an upgraded version to come to market. For example, Apple released its iPhone 4 in June of 2010. In October, 2011, the Apple iPhone 4S with ‘Siri’ capability was released to market. Not even a year later, in September, 2012, the iPhone 5 went to market. This proves a pattern of constant incremental smartphone upgrades even though the average life span of a cellular device is 18 months to two years. As consumers take advantage of having access to the next new thing, what is to become of the slightly used electronics they once loved?


International Markets

Companies are gravitating toward electronic markets abroad; the appeal being rapidly developing countries with large populations. The demand overseas derives from restricted access and limited financial means many countries have to new electronics. Companies will collect used electronics in the United States, refurbish, repackage and remarket the devices overseas where they will be of more value.

Africa, most recently, has become a smartphone hub and a huge opportunity for big-name electronics companies to compete. Dipping their toes in the water, Huawei partnered up with Microsoft to introduce a low-cost, entry-level African smartphone in order to drive penetration in the international territory. The Africa-centric campaigns to remarket used smartphones abroad should prove to be successful as electronics companies compete against Blackberry, the current market leader in Africa.

One of the largest emerging markets, India, had been drastically benefiting from Apple and BlackBerry sales. Being a price-sensitive country, India requires cheap phones, and a lot of them! This is the perfect market for companies to leverage with electronics remarketing of used and refurbished smartphones. Click here to read The Live Mint article on India’s emerging smartphone market.


Responsibly Recycle Used Smartphones

The collection of lightly used electronics starts with businesses and consumers. There are a number of options to take advantage of when recycling used electronics to be remarketed and sold in overseas secondary markets:

ecoATM – Cell phone recycling stations are popping up in malls all over the nation. The ecoATM and similar kiosks are self-serving and instantly value used devices. Once a consumer agrees, the machine disperses cash for the collection of the device. Approximately 75% of the used cell phones are reused and 25% are recycled.

Electronics recycler – Responsible recyclers, like HOBI International Inc, are experts in electronics remarketing, especially with an established international market. Electronics remarketing in secondary markets is essential when the device is not yet at its end-of-life stage. This drastically reduces the amount of precious material wasted or irresponsibly disposed of.

Carrier trade-in – Many times cellphone carriers and consumers benefit from a buy back program that provides the consumer with an upgrade. The carrier keeps the customer on their respective plan and the customer is allowed an upgrade without the hassle of finding a responsible third-party recycler or hoarding the device in their home.

The utilization of electronics remarketing in secondary markets allows smartphones to be accessible easily to consumers all over the world.