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Used MacBooks Flood Resale Sites

Many Apple fans didn’t wait for the company to unveil its new MacBook laptops to put their older models up for sale.

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Even before Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new MacBook Air and Pro models at the company’s annual event for technology developers Monday, resale sites reported record traffic. “Yesterday was our highest day ever for overall Macbook trade-ins,” says Gerald Kimber-White, a spokesman for resale site Gazelle.com. And traffic was double that today. Resales had been in a five-month decline until this week, says Jeff Trachsel, CEO of Nextworth.com, another site that saw a big spike today. eBay Instant Sale saw a 50% increase in the number of trade-in offers generated for MacBooks of all models compared to the same day the week prior, a company spokesman said.

Those listing their MacBooks now hope to beat the expected glut of old models on the market, experts say. An 11-inch MacBook purchased for $999 in 2010 might now fetch less than $250, experts say, and prices will only drop from here. “Apple consumers are becoming more mindful of this,” Kimber-White says. They’re impatient and increasingly eager to offload their older models as early as possible so they have more cash to pre-order the new one, says Traschel. There’s usually a diehard group of Apple devotees who always upgrade — whether it’s a new MacBook, iPad or iPhone. For those who want to pick up a used MacBooks, Yung Trang, president of TechBargains.com, says now may be the time to buy – when there’s a buzz among Apple fans for the new products. “It’s not usually that active a market,” he says.  “A new Dell laptop wouldn’t necessarily result in a glut of new Dells on the market. But Apple fans are very loyal.”

MacBooks tend to depreciate faster than iPhones and iPads, in part because people hold onto them for longer, Trang says. They lose around 70% of their value in just two years, Kimber-White says. iPhones, however, are often sold for just 50% of their original retail price, according to a study by Priceonomics, a price comparison site. And, in some cases, by reselling people can upgrade to a new model for free. However, Traschel says that MacBooks – unlike iPhones and iPads – don’t fall 20% or so in price immediately after the new models hit the market. “This is a less mature market than the market for iPads and iPhones and a far less volatile one,” he says.

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