February 11, 2020

Packaging the refurbished laptop industry


The integral role of packaging in the undervalued market for refurbished laptops


Do people actually buy used laptops?

Packaging the refurbished laptop industry – Yes, more and more people are choosing refurbished laptops over new products. The global market for refurbished laptops and computers hit $2.1 billion in 2019 and is estimated to eclipse $4.9 billion by 2027. Transparency Market Research projects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~11% between 2019-2027. Yet the market for refurbished laptops remains largely cloaked in the shadows, dominated by advertising for shiny new, next-generation products.

On one hand, Apple has successfully convinced consumers to wait for hours in line for a new product every September. At the same time though, a quiet multitude of shoppers look to more economical options.

The electronics industry as a whole continues to push forward with new innovations and annual advancements in technology. While the market for these new gadgets steadily grows, the market for refurbished, slightly-older, and much less expensive tech expands. For example, in 2017 the market for new cell phones grew by 3% compared to a 13% increase in the market for refurbished cell phones.


Why are refurbished laptops more popular now?

The rise in popularity of refurbished laptops can be attributed in part due to affordability, with a remarkable gap in price point forming between new and refurbished products. Consumers have the option of a refurbished laptop for $300 or a new Apple MacBook Pro 16” for a whopping $2,799.99.

Further, as modern electronics get progressively more advanced and more valuable, the inventory of quality refurbished laptops grows. At this point, consumers have easy access to a wide range of professionally refurbished laptops that cost an average of 30-70% cheaper than new products.

Even Apple themselves have embraced the market for refurbished products, giving customers the opportunity to send in old products for credit with Apple Trade In and buy MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones, and iPads refurbished for hundreds of dollars less.

The rise of refurb also comes from increasing environmental concerns, with more and more consumers aware of e-waste pollution. Up until now the major constraint on refurbished electronics has been a lack of public knowledge, but that is already changing as the refurb market expands. Additionally, as the e-commerce industry grows, consumers are now easily able to find refurbished products online, compare prices, and purchase laptops from a variety of retailers.


Packaging the refurbished laptop industry


Why is protective packaging important to the refurb market?

Laptop packaging plays an integral role in the market for refurbished laptops due to the value and fragility of the products and the complexity of the transit process.

The refurbished laptop industry relies heavily on packaging for protection during shipping, with products valued up to $1,500. Laptops are inherently both valuable and fragile, with many internal components capable of being damaged.

The other significant variable is the lengthy and complex transit network associated with refurbished electronics. Customers pack and ship damaged products back to manufacturers who then send them off to repair facilities. Refurbished laptops are then re-packaged and shipped back out to consumers. These additional transits equate to significantly more touchpoints and a much higher probability of product breakage.


Packaging the refurbished laptop industry

The refurb market for laptops requires packaging that offers both protective performance to handle the additional touchpoints and ease-of-use for consumers. And as sustainability becomes a top priority, it is critical for laptop packaging solutions to be environmentally sound.

EPE USA meets this challenge head-on. We use innovative design engineering to create laptop packaging solutions with revolutionary ease-of-use and protective performance. Our optimized solutions replace outdated and unsustainable materials with multi-impact cushioning that allow for significantly better protection with less material usage than traditional packaging.


EPE USA refurbished laptop packaging


By optimizing the design, EPE is able to reduce the amount of material used, lower the dimensional weight and improve the cost efficiency of shipping. With less material, we ensure our designs are as easy-to-use as possible for customers. Our laptop packaging designs are simple, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

Our solutions are not only recyclable but also reusable as part of a circular, closed-loop packaging ecosystem. We’ve done it before. In fact, EPE has successfully implemented reusable, closed-loop packaging designs for a variety of products from refurbished electronics to ceramic toilets.

Talk to one of our packaging professionals today to learn more about our sustainable packaging solutions for refurbished electronics.