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The tech secondary market is a segment of buyers and sellers of used and refurbished technical equipment. Retail costs are often a fraction of manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP). Most equipment is sold through wholesalers who strip down the unusable equipment and refurbish viable equipment often with salvaged parts. Equipment beyond re-use is recycled for precious metals and other retrievable and reusable materials.
The tech secondary market is also known as the IT aftermarket.
Tech secondary market sellers often provide their own warranty service and 24/7 technical support. Not all secondary technical merchandise is used or refurbished. Some of them is actually new, never used equipment from a variety of sources: Manufacturer’s overstock, cancelled projects, corporate bankruptcies and the changing needs of businesses. Other sources include ex-lease equipment and the equipment removed made when upgrades are made.
The tech secondary market involves significant business-to-business (B2B) transactions. For example, one business may not have exactly the make, model or specifications needed by a customer. The equipment is purchased from another business at a wholesale price and then resold to the customer.
Secondary market technical support personnel are often more familiar with a broad range of devices than manufacturers.
On the negative side, tech secondary market resellers have no or little relationship to the manufacturers, who view them as unwanted competition and would rather see their used technology recycled so they can sell more new products. Technical updates may often not be available from anywhere as the manufacturers fail to continue to support products that are seen as obsolete and the reseller may have no support either.
One insidious problem in the tech secondary market is stolen or counterfeit equipment. Reputable resellers go to great lengths to assure customers of their integrity by inspecting equipment and ensuring that it is genuine. Often resellers will guarantee the replacement of any equipment found to be stolen or counterfeit and will cooperate with investigative authorities.
The tech secondary market size is difficult to estimate due to the diversity of players and sales revenues involved. One estimate of the value of network equipment in the used market alone was a $2 billion industry in 2007.
Equipment that has passed its usefulness from a technology aspect in developed countries is shipped to third world countries where there is a huge demand for cheap technology.