Consumers won’t get their hands on an Apple Watch for weeks, maybe months, but there’s already a market developing for second-hand smartwatches. A number of sites have started buyback programs, and in less than a week smartwatches have become the second most popular trade-in on NextWorth.com, a site that also buys used smartphones and other digital devices.
“Early adopters (of smartwatches) didn’t have a reason to trade them in. But now that the Apple Watch is available, people have a reason to sell,” Jeff Trachsel, the chief marketing officer of NextWorth told me. The trade-in site didn’t start buying smartwatches until April 10, and by the middle of this week the devices comprised about 18 percent of the company’s volume, trailing only smartphones as items consumers want to unload.
There’s no way to know if the people selling their no-longer-new Pebbles, Motos and Samsung Galaxy Gears (pictured above) are going to use the proceeds to help pay for a pricey Apple Watch, but I suspect that’s the case.
Like any used electronic device, the resale value of a smartwatch varies from site to site and model to model. Older devices, of course, sell for a lot less than newer versions. The Motorola Moto 360 with a black leather band, for example, sold for about $249 when it debuted last October: NextWorth will buy it for $107 if it’s in good condition. Amazon, which is also buying used smartwatches, will pay $104 for the same watch, but unlike NextWorth it won’t give you cash, only gift cards.
A Pebble Smartwatch, the black 301BL,is two years old and originally sold for $149; now it’s worth just $26 on NextWorth, and $20 on BuyBackWorld.
Best Buy is another place to sell your old smartwatch, but like Amazon it pays in gift cards only.
About two-thirds of the watches NextWorth purchased were Pebbles, most of the rest were Motos and Gears, while only a relatively small number of the Sony Smartwatch were sold, Trachsel said. Why are so many Pebbles being up for sale? Probably because there are simply more of them out there, he says.
It's worth noting that prices change quickly, so check a few sites when you're ready to sell.