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The Rise of the Refurbished Industry: 16 Things You Should Know

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Did you know that, according to a survey by TechSee, approximately $17 billion are lost in annual revenue due to returns of non-defective electronic items? This is for both store and online retailers. Once refurbished, consumers like you can buy them in refurbished retailers at a lower price.

Every year, the recycling of gadgets increases—from pre-owned smartphones to refurbished MacBook and personal computers. This trend is happening globally, which only shows that there’s a market for refurbished electronic goods.

What makes refurbished products popular is that they serve as a low-cost option to brand-new equipment but perform just as well.

Fast Facts

Here are some interesting data from recent research studies:

  • The market for refurbished electronic goods is estimated to be about $10 billion. In online marketplaces, 75% of survey respondents said they were likely to buy refurbished electronics, while 94% stated that they had bought refurbished products in the last three years. (The Rise of Refurbished Products, Liquidity Services, 2018)
  • Buying refurbished computers for each employee costs one-third of the price of purchasing brand new items. (Trend alert: Refurbished computers gaining popularity, IT World Canada, 2017)
  • At least 10% of new premium smartphones purchased in 2016 and priced $500 or higher will end up having three owners or more before being retired, and may still be used actively in 2020 or beyond. (The Rise of Refurbished Electronics’ Marketplaces, Deloitte Global via MERA, 2018)
  • The reuse and recycling of laptops help in decreasing different types of environmental impact. (Resource and environmental impacts of using second-hand laptop computers: A case study of commercial reuse, Science Direct, 2019)

Consumers’ Perception Towards Refurbished Gadgets

There’s mostly positive opinion of refurbished machines due to the advantages they bring to the table:

1. Overall positive experience
Buyers of refurbished devices are giving favorable feedback about their purchase, which indicates their positive experience, as well as brand perception for companies that sell them. In fact, 81% of consumers have good things to say about refurbished gadgets and are likely to recommend them to their family and friends.

2. Satisfaction with the purchase
Majority ofpeople who buy refurbished devices don’t run into any problems using them. About 84% of consumers find that even with their low price point, the quality of refurbished equipment is comparable to those sold at Apple stores—provided, of course, that the items come from recognized vendors like Macs4U.

3. A viable option for modern-day consumers
Nowadays, consumers are taking advantage of the fact that increased business competition gives them several shopping options. While branded products are ideal, something that offers them the same value at a cheaper price tag is a more attractive option. Consumers who have previously purchased refurbished electronics say they’ll continue to buy them for years to come.

Consumer Challenges

Considering refurbished Apple product but not certain of what to look for?

1. Source of refurbished Apple products
Apple products get sold through a variety of channels (commercial/business accounts, education and consumer direct). Only a smaller percentage of returns are directly restored by Apple and re-sold back on the Apple website. The bulk of refurbished products go through independent, specialized businesses.

2. Functionality issue of a returned MacBook
The truth is, most returns that get refurbished are not due to defective machines. There’s a host of reasons that vendors are selling refurbished devices, including change of mind, lease returns, change of technical requirements or customers remorse. In the best-case scenario, items were simply returned without being opened, others at the end of the lease and so on as well as trade-ins.

3. Beware of Mac recycler
After many years of service, responsible businesses retire old computers to recycling companies. Recyclers charge the business a fee for the recycling service. However, recyclers often turnaround and repair and sell the very same computer on Marketplaces like eBay and others, where unsuspecting buyers are purchasing “used” models that are often near the end of their useful life. While great for low budget machines, they will not support the latest Operating Systems or be compatible with software and security updates apart from being slow.

4. Hunt for value-added offerings
Reputable sellers of refurbished items have warranty and exchange policies in place. In the event that you found certain issues with your purchase, you should be able to return the item and get a replacement.If you think a 90-day warranty is shorter than what you would prefer, you may consider buying an extended warranty. This way, you won’t be incurring any cost if you need to have some hardware repairs done since your item is still under warranty. Refurbished sellers like Macs4U even offer a 1-year warranty, included with every computer purchase.

5. Finding credible information
Misconceptions abound in the refurbished industry, and these might give you apprehensions as a first-time buyer of refurbished products. The trick is in finding out as much as you can before buying anything.Aside from research, you could get valuable information from the vendors themselves. Their help desk should be able to give you details about the refurbished offerings they have, as well as general information about refurbished machines or devices.

Best Practices for Consumers

Getting the most out of refurbished laptops requires a little homework. We share some tips and tricks below.

1. Be on the lookout for online offers
Aside from brick-and-mortar stores, online vendors or retailers are also actively selling properly refurbished items. Check their website catalog for a list of offerings and shipping policies. Some vendors even have blogs that offer advice for smart shopping, which is a good indication that they’re concerned about giving you a positive experience throughout.

2. Choose the greener option
If it’s good for you, then it’s good for the planet. Apple computers are recognized to last up to 8-10 years. Refurbished machines prolong the life of electronic devices, so you don’t need to buy new equipment. Not only does this reduce the production of new machines with new resources fitted into them, but it also minimizes the volume of industrial waste and products that are thrown away.

3. Examine the details
Different providers will have different refurbishing programs, so it’s important to get to know the details of what you’re getting. The main thing to consider is that the product you’re buying has undergone a full, thorough refurbishing.
Ask the vendor if all their technicians have gone and completed Apple certification training. Only companies that invest in Apple training programs will be able to insure proper handling of refurbishing machines.
Reputable vendors will test all functionalities of every computer going through their system.
Aside from the assurance that the product is in tip-top condition, you’ll also want to know what accessories are included with your purchase.

4. Let the vendor know your needs
Whether you need a laptop with basic configurations or something more sophisticated will depend on what you will use it for. With this information, your vendor will be able to offer options and make recommendations as to what device can provide the computing power and other capabilities to help you complete your tasks. If a vendor is not really willing to assist you during the selection process, or just wants to sell you a more expensive computer without a good explanation, reconsider if this is the place you want to buy your computer from.

The Future of the Refurbished Industry Is Now

It’s very clear that the refurbished industry is on the rise. The increasing number of people who are buying refurbished equipment is also fueling a market where vendors are offering premium quality devices that give consumers their money’s worth.

Speaking of which, you can find quality refurbished MacBooks from Macs4U. Our refurbished MacBooks have passed rigorous testing and quality standards from top to bottom and inside out to make sure that you’re getting real value from your purchase without spending more than you can afford.

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