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The current mobile phone market is growing exponentially and the rules are quickly changing. This is especially true for the secondary market, which alone is worth $25 billion. Let this data soak in: there’s an estimated 4.6 billion cell phones in use throughout the world and when those devices are returned, they will need data wiping and recycling so that manufacturers and retailers can remarket those devices to resellers. Industry professionals need to keep current with best practices to either stay, or become, a major player in this field.
How to avoid risk is at the top of the list when it comes to remarketing used electronic devices. There are many unanswered questions, such as, who’s doing the buying and selling, how is that done and who is regulating those transactions? This article will take a look at each of these issues and will provide answers to the current state of the mobile secondary market.
To start, it’s important to keep current with R2 certification and what that means.
When R2 certification was first introduced in 2008 (through the SERI nonprofit), the goal was to create best practices for the repair and recycling of electronic devices. Currently, there are over 700 facilities with R2 certification. To earn certification facilities have to show, for example, that: the facility can run audit reports; all recycling is done ethically; and customer data is kept secure. This last point—customer data—is helping drive the growth of the mobile secondary market.
Data wiping is of paramount importance to consumers. No one wants to think their contact list, bank information or other personal data is still available on their returned phone. When a facility becomes R2 certified, they are showing a serious commitment to consumer privacy. The certification also provides risk aversion for wireless companies that sell used devices to R2 certified facilities. It is no wonder that so many manufacturers and retailers require their buyers to be R2 certified.
The recycling of mobile phones is another serious topic and is also covered under R2 certification. No one wants to see billions of phones piled up in garbage heaps. The numerous precious metals found inside phones—everything from lead to copper to gold to silver—can cause massive pollution and will contaminate water supplies. A single cell phone battery could pollute 600,000 liters of water. But it doesn’t have to be that way: over 90% of materials found in a phone can be recovered and reused. Once again, by becoming R2 certified, a facility can demonstrate how they will protect the environment when recycling electronic devices.
Sean Cleland, B-Stock’s in-house expert when it comes to the mobile secondary market has deep experience with remarketing mobile devices, “Buyers and sellers of secondary phones can create positive PR just by becoming R2 certified. A commitment towards protecting the environment, on top of protecting consumer privacy and providing risk aversion, will go a long ways towards legitimacy and will help grow a thriving secondary mobile phone business.”
Sean is keeping a close eye on the development of R2 certification, how it’s progressing and how it’s having an impact on the secondary market. Sean attends industry meetings and sits down, face-to-face, with marketplace insiders who are forging ahead in a field set to explode with excess product. Having a game plan in place is vital to anyone currently involved with buying or selling electronic devices. Over the past few years, B-Stock has partnered with some of the nation’s largest wireless carriers, manufacturers, and buyback companies to launch customizable, online auction marketplaces where they can sell excess and trade-in product directly to R2 certified buyers (if they require it). Over the past year alone, we have sold hundreds of thousands of used phones—in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly manner—and we are only getting started.
If you are interested in starting a conversation with us on how you can get involved in the secondary mobile market, Sean would love to hear from you. Send us an email today.
Read more of B-Stock’s coverage of mobile devices and the current state of the industry.
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