Verizon makes moves
Verizon Wireless, the largest US mobile carrier, leads all companies with the most share (10%) of reclaimed/recycled devices for its trade-in program, according to our recent market share analysis. This makes sense since Verizon really beefed up its trade-in program over the last couple of years, including retooling of its buyback website. The carrier had partnered with HYLA Mobile (and even gave HYLA (called eRecyclingCorps then) a Supplier Award (in 2014) for its “outstanding efforts and partnership in support of Verizon's green and sustainability initiatives.” Verizon said that eRC helped them payout over $200 million in mobile device trade-in value to its customers and “increased the device recycling volume by more than 33 percent.” (Click here for entire article).
However, Verizon made an unprecedented move in early 2015 to take its buyback program in-house, ending its contract with HYLA Mobile. It will be interesting to see if Verizon maintains strong reclamation rates and meets the aggressive recycling goals it has set. This is also a huge blow to HYLA Mobile since it already lost the Sprint contract to Brightstar. It will be interesting to see if other carriers (and retailers) follow suit.
In product news, ecoATM launched a new mobile application that will provide the end user with used pricing for any cell phone, tablet or mp3 player when not at a kiosk. The ecoATM app will automatically detect the customer’s device and provide a price quote. This is somewhat similar to a mobile application Verizon launched in April of 2014 called Value Mobile Device Recycling. These apps are intended to increase buyback participation. It would be interesting to find out the download rates for these one-time usage applications.
In addition to the new app from ecoATM, Apple announced in the first quarter that it would expand its iPhone-only trade-in program to include other types of smartphones. This only makes sense since Android and other devices make up the majority of smartphones. At Compass Intelligence, we estimate iOS makes up about 42% share in the US. (For more information on our wireless research, click here.)
Recently, the FTC received more than 900 complaints about buyback company, Cash for iPhones. The customers claimed that Cash for iPhones said it would pay a higher amount for their devices but then actually paid them significantly less. This type of negative press could impact the buyback/recommerce market, especially since overall take rates have been so low in the past. It also supports our end user feedback that shows customers do little or no research when it comes to buyback programs. In our most recent survey, only 22% of customers surveyed said they researched trade-in or buyback programs prior to using one. Customers need to be more aware of the options in the recommerce market today and compare and contrast those offers. Perhaps downloading ecoATM’s new mobile app would be beneficial.
Again, happy Earth Day. “Think globally, act locally” everyone (and don’t forget to recycle your electronics).
For more information, please contact Kate Pearce at firstname.lastname@example.org and also visit our Reuse and Recycling research portal to find executive summaries and table of contents for our latest research.