EXCLUSIVE: Assurant, an insurance firm that partners with Apple on its trade-in program, is expecting an uptick in volume following the tech giant’s “Far Out” event on Wednesday, where the company is widely expected to announce the iPhone 14.
Last year, the risk management provider took in approximately 20 million trade-in devices across its three facilities in York, Pennsylvania; Lewisville, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee, including a record 17 million repaired for resale.
“This year, we anticipate, will be roughly in that same ballpark, maybe slightly north of there,” Biju Nair, president of Assurant’s global connected living unit, told FOX Business in an interview. “As soon as the new iPhone launch happens, we will start to get a better sense for what the fourth quarter volumes are going to look like.”
Nair notes that trade-in volumes typically triple from the date of a new iPhone or Samsung phone launch onward due to the devices’ popularity and the start of upgrade promotions by carriers and retailers. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, an estimated $784 million was returned to consumers across industry-wide trade-in programs.
When a trade-in device reaches one of Assurant’s facilities, it is tested to determine its condition and graded. Approximately 65% to 68% of the devices Assurant receives are from Apple, while roughly 25% to 30% are from Samsung.
Once testing and repairs are completed, the devices are data cleared and auctioned off to buyers in the wholesale market. About half of the devices prepared for resale are consumed in the United States, while the other half are shipped overseas.
According to Nair, the average selling price of a used smartphone in the wholesale market is about $210.
“The wholesaler buys [the phone] and then they do many, many things, but they may break into smaller lots and sell it to other smaller shops that may be interested in further selling it. They obviously get a margin on top of that. So let’s say, you know, they get another 5% margin or so,” Nair explains. “But then these end shops, they may actually buff and polish these devices and kit them into a box, add a charger and a headset to it and then they sell it at the retail price.”
Nair notes that a used iPhone 13 typically retails for anywhere north of about $500.
Since the start of its trade-in program in 2009, Assurant has repurposed 116 million devices, diverted more than 23,000 metric tons of waste from landfills, produced 6.38 million metric tons of C02 avoidance and returned roughly $12 billion back to consumers.
Apple’s “Far Out” event will stream live from Apple Park in Cupertino, California starting at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.