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Trade-in market for older smartphones gets more competitive

Ian Paul | Sept. 12, 2013
As Apple and Wal-Mart in the U.S. enter the trade-in market, NextWorth ups its game, anticipating swarms of older phones being traded by users to fund new iPhones.

"We estimate the U.S. reCommerce [trade-in] market to be $14B by 2017, so there's obviously a huge opportunity here for multiple players," said Anthony Scarsella, Gazelle's chief gadget officer.

With major companies getting in on the used-gadget market, it's no wonder online pioneers of the business are upping their game. NextWorth's rebranding hopes to show off the value its service has over Apple and Walmart.

"In an increasingly competitive landscape we need to do more to differentiate our service from everyone else's," said Traschel. "We are focusing on the fact that we offer an uncomplicated, easy, high-value transaction where we pay cash...with no strings attached."

In late August, Gazelle offered a maximum 50-day price lock on all iPhone quotes, more than its typical 30-day price guarantee. Anyone who ordered their trade mailing packet for an iPhone between August 26 and September 10 received a locked-in quote until October 15.

"We extended our normal 30-day price lock since we know not everyone is ready to hand over their old phone the same day they get a new one," Scarsella said. "We also give our customers cash...And we'll pay as much as $125 for broken iPhones and as much as $100 for broken iPads, which Apple will only recycle."

NextWorth and Gazelle also offer better-than-usual deals for the iPhone at this writing. While Apple only offered $285 for a 16GB black Verizon iPhone 5 in good condition, Gazelle offered $310, and NextWorth would give you $330.

Faced with on-the-spot credit towards devices you're going to buy anyway as well as competitive offers from Walmart, trade-in deals and gimmicks may only get better from smaller sites in the coming months. Gazelle, for example, currently offers a sweepstakes draw where one Gazelle customer will win $1 million.

Dang, it's good to be a gadget hound.


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