What Affects the Secondhand Value of Smartphones: Evidence from eBay

Tamar Makov, Tomer Fishman, Marian R. Chertow, Vered Blass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Reuse via secondhand markets can extend the use phase of products, thereby reducing environmental impacts. Analyzing 500,000 listings of used Apple and Samsung smartphones sold in 2015 and 2016 via eBay, we examine which product properties affect how long smartphones retain market value and facilitate market-based reuse. Our results suggest that although repairability and large memory size are typically thought to be “life extending,” in practice they have limited impact on the current economic life span of smartphones and their market-based reuse. In contrast, we show that brand, an intangible product property, can extend smartphones’ economic life span by 12.5 months. Because longer economic life spans imply extended use phases and longer life spans overall, these results illustrate the potential of harnessing the intangible properties of products to promote sustainable consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-559
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • brand
  • eBay
  • reuse
  • secondhand market
  • smartphones
  • use phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Social Sciences (all)


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