The reCommerce™ Report: 2013 Summary – The Year of reCommerce

In this  2013 special edition of the reCommerce Report, we will take a look at all the top device trades that happened in 2013. Also on the report we will take a quick peek into the future with big tech trends we can expect in 2014 and beyond.

In this report, we’ll look at:

iPhone: Upgraders out in full force

Over the past three years, iPhone trade-ins have gradually spread across the entire year, not just around the launch of a new iPhone. And with the number of iPhone users only growing, it’s interesting that we’ve seen a consistent percentage – around 23% — of all iPhones traded in during the month of an iPhone release over the last three years are less than one year old.

percentage of iPhone trade ins by year

iPad: Redesigned models drive trades

Apple’s two newly designed iPads have influenced consumers to upgrade heavily in 2013. In fact, iPad trade-ins are up 370% over the past three years (see chart below), and in the week before the official launch, Gazelle saw iPad trade-ins increase by more than 6x compared to the same week last year. Though we can point to a maturing tablet market as a possible explanation for the growth in iPad trades — tablets were the ‘it’ gift this holiday season (with more than 40% of respondents in our pre-holiday survey stating tablets topped their wish list) — the market for tablets is going to be a fun one to watch this year as new models hit the shelves.

iPad trade in index

Samsung: The next big player in reCommerce

The Korean giant has been challenging Apple for smartphone supremacy over the past few years, and it looks like 2013 was a big year for Samsung in terms of reCommerce, as well. Samsung cell phone trade-in volume grew 110% from 2012 to 2013, and the majority of Samsung trade-ins occurred around the iPhone releases (57% between August and December in 2013). This could suggest that despite the significant growth in Samsung device adoption, Samsung customers may be looking to cash in on their current phones for a new iPhone.

Tech Trends to Watch in 2014

Bigger iPhones and iPads – Rumors of Apple getting ready to produce bigger iPhones and iPads could become a reality in 2014. With 5-inch screen smartphone “phablets” — like the Note 3, LG G2 and Xperia Z — stealing the spotlight in many markets, Apple could be forced to produce an even bigger iPhone in 2014. As for the iPad, the world’s best-selling tablet could see an additional model as Apple might bridge the gap between laptop and tablet; a 13-inch plus iOS powered tablet / laptop convertible in 2014 could be the product to do it.

More Wearable Tech – 2013 was a big year for wearable tech with smartwatches, fitness trackers and glasses. Apple remained on the sidelines while Samsung and Sony showed off new, innovative smartwatch models. I fully expect Apple to get in on the party with a smartwatch and perhaps even glasses at some point in 2014 and beyond. This will truly be an interesting category that we should all keep our eyes on.

Watch the Carriers – Phone carriers last year created new offerings as a way to try to get consumers to commit to using their networks. One method was to introduce the upgrade programs: T-Mobile Jump, followed by AT&T Next, Verizon Edge and Sprint One Up. And the issue of smartphones locked to a carrier network has continued to be a hot topic. In December, the FCC led a voluntary agreement among the major carriers to implement more transparency around the unlocking process for consumers. It’s a good first step and should help set minimal acceptable standards by which carriers agree to unlock smartphones for consumers. It will be interesting to see how carrier unlocking policies evolve over the coming year.

If there are any topics you would like to see in the next report, feel free to email me at



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