Market for used and refurbished electronics flourishes amid production delays and shortages

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By NATHAN VICKERS

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    MISSION, Kansas (KCTV) — A new phone, video game console or laptop may be harder to find in time for Christmas due to supply shortages and production delays.

In October, CBS News reported that Apple may fall short of its production goals for the year because of chip manufacturing issues, for example.

As prices increase and stock dwindles, local businesses that specialize in reselling used or refurbished devices are thriving.

Johnathon Vonags, the owner of Direct Computer Outlet in Mission, said his store’s 2021 sales increased from last year. He said part of the reason is pent up demand from the pandemic.

But he believes the market for new laptops and tablets has been a major factor.

“It’s hard to find the new stuff and when you do it’s marked up,” Vonags said.

Another alternative for consumers would be phone repair.

Ryan Olson owns Mission Repair KC, just down the street on Johnson Drive.

He said he’s seen more customers bringing in their cracked screens and other fix-it projects to avoid paying a premium for a new device.

“Save what you have,” he recommended. “The new iPhones are same old same old. You’re just buying a camera.”

Olson has also noticed that customers often want to repair their phones to trade in or resell.

That market has been growing during the pandemic, too.

Swappa, a reselling service based in Kansas City, offers a way to trade up for a newer device.

Sara Beane, a spokesperson for the company, said she believes customers are looking for alternatives to new devices. She noted that many Swappa buyers want to purchase phones quickly, instead of waiting for a newer model to ship.

“People are having to really rethink how they’re buying this year,” she said. “I think a lot of people would be surprised that they can find something that’s basically brand new.”

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