Trade-In Tech
by on June 22, 2021

The electronics industry is one that shows no signs of slowing down in terms of popularity. If you’re thinking about entering into this industry, there are also many popular electronics to choose from. Many sellers, distributors, and wholesalers prefer to buy and sell cell phones.


Whether it’s a smartphone from Apple, Samsung, Google, or another company, cell phones are popular items throughout the world. Research from Canalys reports that during 2021’s first quarter (January through March), there were 347 million units of smartphones getting shipped throughout the world! This figure means that there was a 27% increase in year-over-year smartphone shipments.


Before you can start selling wholesale cell phones, you’ll need a way to find them. Fortunately, we’ve got all the tips you need to start finding and buying cell phones online.


After reading this post, you’ll have a deeper understanding of:


  • Why you should buy cell phones in bulk

  • The best places to find wholesale cell phones

  • What to look for when buying smartphones online

  • The most popular smartphone brands

  • What accessories you can pair with your phones for even more sales


If you’re ready to get started, here’s our guide to finding wholesale cell phones online.


Why Should I Buy Wholesale Mobile Phones?



Before you start any potential business venture, it’s understandable to want to do your research about it. Considering that, you might want to know more about the potential benefits of buying cell phones in large quantities. Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons why this is such a good idea.


A Great Way to Start a Business


Some people enjoy buying and selling cell phones as a hobby. However, you might be more interested in selling mobile phones as a side hustle or full-time job. Whatever your goals are, you can achieve them by buying and selling mobile phones. Many of Trade-In Tech’s members have watched their companies continue growing after buying and selling smartphones.


What’s great about buying cell phones and reselling them is that you don’t need a ton of money to get started. It’s entirely possible to buy one or two smartphones at a time, sell them, and scale up your business in time.


Having Products That Are Easy to Sell


No business owner wants to buy products that they’ll have a hard time selling. This situation often leads to low profits and lots of stress trying to sell something that isn’t in demand. However, you won’t have to worry about this when you’re selling cell phones.


A few decades ago, cell phones were thought of by some people as somewhat complicated. Now, because of how popular cell phones became, this is no longer an issue. Plus, people of all ages use cell phones for a wide range of reasons.


When you’re selling mobile phones, you’ll be working with products that people use all of the time. This also means that you’re less likely to have customers asking you lots of complicated questions.


Getting Lots of Cell Phones at Low Prices


You don’t have to look far to see retailers charging high prices for the latest and greatest cell phones. These prices are great for the brands selling these electronics. However, they’re not as great for resellers trying to make a profit. 


If you can’t get the profit you’re looking for by paying retail prices, what can you do? You can buy cell phones in bulk. Wholesale cell phones are attractive to many distributors for many reasons.


First, you’re often able to get lots of cell phones at lower than average prices. By not spending a fortune on electronics, buying cell phones in bulk also lets you have an inexpensive way to start gaining the inventory you need. 


Second, by having lots of inventory, you can get your business off the ground right away. You won’t have to spend the time it takes for certain companies in other industries to officially get started. The faster you get your business off the ground, the faster you can start making money.


Lastly, buying wholesale cell phones also enables you to check out liquidation auctions. These sources are great ways to get amazing deals on cell phones. With that said, you’ll be buying lots of phones at once. This can scare away some people that only want to buy a few cell phones at once. But, you can find plenty of bargains if you know what you’re doing.


The Best Places to Find Cell Phones for Sale Online



If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you want to know where you can find cell phones for sale online. With that in mind, we’re happy to let you know where you can achieve this goal. If you need to start buying cell phones, check out these websites.


1. Trade-In Tech


Since 2012, Trade-In Tech has become one of the industry’s leading platforms for those in the electronics industry. Our main goal as a company is to help people in the electronics industry connect and grow their respective companies. It’s also a great place to find cell phones for sale online.


Because of our thousands of members all over the world, our wholesale platform has plenty of electronics for sale. If you need to find new or used smartphones, we have what you’re looking for. We know the importance of carrying all of the electronic industry’s most popular brands, including Apple, Samsung, LG, Google, and many others.


What’s also great about using Trade-In Tech is that we have many ways for you to find and buy smartphones. One of your first destinations should be the Trade-In Tech marketplace. This is the main section of our website for buying and selling electronics. You’ll always find lots of popular cell phones available for sale in the marketplace. 


You can also find the cell phones you need by checking out chat rooms and private groups. These are areas of our website that allow you to connect with our large network of members.


If you haven’t found what you’re looking for on Trade-In Tech, we have another feature you’ll want to know about known as a buyer’s request. With a buyer’s request, you use a simple online form to tell the Trade-In Tech community exactly what you’re looking for. After you create this request, simply send it out, and it will get seen by our large network of members.


Another great thing about Trade-In Tech is that we proudly offer no fees to our network of members. Whether you’re buying or selling electronics (or both), you’ll never get bombarded with lots of fees on our platform. By not having to worry about losing money on fees, you get more money that stays in your company’s pockets.


2. eBay


Another potential way to sell your cell phones is by using eBay. As you’re likely aware, eBay began as a company offering online auctions. Over time, it also began to allow people to directly buy items by paying a Buy It Now price. Whether you want to buy phones in an auction or buy it now format, eBay might be a great place to find what you need.


Being one of the longest-lasting websites in the world, eBay has a large network of members. Plus, you can view ratings and reviews for each member. This feature can enable you to make smart buying decisions while you use this platform.


While eBay can be a good way to get the cell phones you need, this platform does have some drawbacks. The main drawback of this platform is the fees you’ll have to buy when buying or selling items on eBay. You’ll need to pay eBay every time you buy an item. There are also additional member-related fees. Over time, these fees can take away sizable profits from your business.


3. Swappa


You might also consider finding the phones you need through Swappa. If you didn’t know about this website, it’s a place where people can buy and sell all sorts of used electronics. Instead of trying to buy expensive phones by paying retail prices a business offers, you work directly with Swappa’s members.


A major advantage of Swappa is that they thoroughly check the electronics they receive before placing them on its website. This ensures that no one is selling broken or otherwise non-functioning electronics. Swappa also exclusively uses PayPal for all of its transactions. Having a secure payment platform is helpful to prevent any kind of fraud-related issues.


You can also find many types of electronics on Swappa, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and other popular electronic devices.


Because this website handles sales between users, you’re not going to find bulk quantities of cell phones on this platform. However, Swappa can be a great platform if you’re just starting out in the electronics industry or only need a specific item that you can’t find elsewhere.


4. Costco Wholesale


If you’re a fan of buying things in bulk, you probably know all about Costco Wholesale. This company operates many large warehouse-type stores throughout the United States. While this company is well-known for its grocery and home sections, it also sells electronics in large volumes.


You’re not going to find pallets of iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones in Costco’s stores. However, you can apply to buy electronics in bulk from this company online. One of the main drawbacks of using Costco to buy electronics in bulk is that you’ll need to pay quite a bit of money for one of this company’s pallets.


5. Amazon


We also wanted to mention the possibility of using Amazon to find wholesale cell phones. While Amazon got its start by selling books online, this company quickly began branching out. Now, Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers and is branching out with its own products.


If you’re looking for electronics, Amazon might have what you’re looking for. However, we’re not talking about purchasing cell phones from Amazon’s main website. Instead, you would want to join Amazon Business. This is Amazon’s B2B program that can allow companies to buy wholesale quantities.


With Amazon being such a large retailer, working on this platform has its advantages and disadvantages. Like many other platforms, Amazon will receive profits from you by charging fees. You’ll also need to verify that you work for or own a business to enter Amazon’s wholesale platform.


6. Walmart Liquidation Auctions


Lastly, it’s also important to mention Walmart Liquidation Auctions. Being an incredibly popular retailer, Walmart has a wide range of departments that sell all sorts of goods. You’ll also find that Walmart sells a wide range of electronics.


The main disadvantage of using Walmart’s wholesale program to find cell phones is that you might not have much luck. Being such a large company, Walmart carries and sells all kinds of products. As you look through this company’s electronics wholesale listings, it can take some time to find any listings that contain smartphones.


Also, being that all of the items you’ll find through Walmart will be in auction formats. If you’re new to participating in auctions, this process can be a little intimidating and frustrating. As long as you’re making higher bids than you can afford, there shouldn’t be any major problems happening.


What Should I Look for When Buying Cell Phones in Bulk?



After looking over the previously mentioned places to find mobile phones online, you’re likely ready to get started making purchases. However, before you do that, it’s a good idea to understand what to look for when buying cell phones in bulk.


The Importance of Clean ESNs IMEIs and MEIDs


When you’re buying cell phones, the most important thing to look for are electronics with a clean ESN (Electronic Serial Number) or IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). These are ways for smartphone companies to give a unique identifier to each item they produce. While this might not seem important, it’s the main way for you to avoid purchasing stolen or blacklisted electronics.


If you were to try and sell blacklisted or stolen phones, you’ll be selling items that your customers can’t use. These types of phones often have locks on them, essentially making them worthless and unusable. Making matters worse, selling stolen or blacklisted electronics can get your business in a lot of legal trouble.


With that in mind, you don’t have to be a technical expert to find out this information. First, you’ll need to determine which identifier you need to find. Here’s a quick look at how ESNs, IMEIs, and other serial numbers differ from each other.


IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity): Many companies use the IMEI to identify various smartphones and tablets. It’s also possible for some cell phones to have more than one IMEI, such as phones that have a primary IMEI and a SIM IMEI. A SIM IMEI is the unique identifier for the SIM card inside of a phone.


ESN (Electronic Serial Number): Starting in the early 1980s, electronic serial numbers became used to identify a wide range of mobile devices. Now, these identifiers are primarily used by popular mobile carriers like Verizon and Sprint. An ESN will be either eight or 11 characters.


MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier): As the popularity of electronic devices rose, the world began to run out of ESNs. This is a 14 character identifier that many other carriers use for their devices.


For more information on this topic, don’t miss our guide on how to check if your phones have clean ESN/IMEI/MEIDs.


Be on the Lookout for Newly Released Phones


As you know, the electronics industry is incredibly popular. Due to this level of popularity, companies are constantly releasing all sorts of new electronics. Considering that, one of the fastest-moving aspects of the electronics industry is the smartphone.


You can gain a major advantage over your competition by keeping up with smartphones that just came out or are about to. Best of all, it’s fairly easy to keep up with this industry. A few popular websites to get the info you’re looking for are:


  • CNET

  • Engadget

  • TechCrunch


We understand that you probably don’t have time to stay on these websites around the clock. However, spending even a few minutes each day checking out the top headlines will provide a great deal of help. As you continue learning about this industry, you can potentially gain an advantage by carrying new cell phones before your competitors get them.


Another advantage of keeping up with smartphone-related news is that you’ll be aware of potential price drops before they happen. The price of cell phones can drop quickly if a new generation of this smartphone will soon be available to the public. If you detect that a newer phone is about to come out, you can push to sell off your older generations before that happens. 


You might not be able to pay the same price for these electronics as you would on ones that are used. However, staying aware of newly released electronics is still a smart move.


Look at Your Company’s Top Sellers


It’s understandable to wonder why phones you already sold would help you when it comes to buying more inventory. This is a great step because looking at your best sellers helps you understand what your company’s audience wants.


Fortunately, most inventory management systems can allow you to look at your company’s past sales. By looking at this data, you can get a great idea of your company’s best-selling items. When you know what’s selling well, it’s a good idea to make sure these items are always available.


Are the Phones Cleaned/Wiped?


Cell phones are capable of storing lots of information. If you’re like most people, you have contacts, pictures, videos, financial information, and other private information on your cell phone. Considering that, it’s unlikely that you’d want this information getting into the hands of other people, especially complete strangers.


This is why wiping data from or cleaning used cell phones is so important. To take care of cleaning and wiping data from phones, you can choose to have a company do this for you. Or you can do it yourself.


If you’re thinking about cleaning phones on your own, it’s important to understand that this means more than physically cleaning these devices. Instead, you’ll also need to make sure that all personal data is removed from a phone. If not, you could find yourself unknowingly giving out sensitive information from people and companies.


For those that don’t want to clean data from phones themselves, you can always strike up a partnership with a data wiping company. These companies take all the worries of wiping data from phones off of your hands. One of the companies we can recommend working with is Phonecheck.


What Are the Most Popular Cell Phone Brands?


Source: Nextpit


Something else that can help you sell lots of cell phones online is learning about the most popular smartphone companies. If you can find cell phones available from these companies, you’re going to have lots of hot sellers. Here’s more information about some of the most popular cell phone companies in the world.




When it comes to the most popular smartphone companies, it’s hard to find a business that’s doing better than Apple. Year after year, Apple appears on lists of the best and most beloved businesses in the world. It also knows a thing or two about how to create popular electronics.


Originally launching in 1976, Apple first became well-known for manufacturing and selling home computers. For the next three decades, Apple spent its time bringing computers like the Apple II and Macintosh to the market. As many companies do, Apple started the 2000s by releasing new additions to this company’s line of products, including the iPod.


Apple currently sells its products in 22 countries through both online sales and this company’s almost 500 retail stores throughout the world. Apple’s most popular smartphone remains the iPhone. First released in 2007, this smartphone remains one of the most popular electronics in the world.


One reason why Apple’s iPhones are so popular is that they contain lots of features and new technology. This company’s phone also features sleek designs that Apple is known for. If you’re selling a lot of iPhones, it could be wise to consider checking out this company’s tablets, laptops, and other types of electronics.




If Apple is the most popular cell phone brand, Samsung is close behind this company in terms of popularity and brand recognition. In 2020, Samsung shipped 315 million units of its smartphones. This was one of the first times that Samsung shipped more smartphones than Apple!


Samsung has been around much longer than you might think. In fact, this company started all the way back in 1938 in South Korea. In the mid-2000s, Samsung would officially start working on manufacturing and selling smartphones.


Something many people like about Samsung is that it’s always striving for innovation. With its huge research and development department, Samsung is a popular brand for people that want to be on the cutting-edge of smartphone technology. People or companies that are within the confines of a tighter budget also enjoy that many of Samsung’s phones are competitively priced.


The most popular smartphone this company offers is the Galaxy. If you can find and buy Samsung Galaxy smartphones, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a person or company that wants to buy these items. Like Apple, Samsung also manufactures other electronics like tablets and computer hardware.




Another popular electronics company is LG. Much like Samsung, LG has a long history of being in business. Founded in 1947, LG got its start manufacturing and selling various types of radios. This company wouldn’t enter the smartphone industry until 2009.


This company knows the importance of innovation. While LG might not have the revenue of Apple and Samsung, this company did manufacture the world’s first swiveling smartphone. Also, some of this company’s most popular smartphones make use of an innovative dual-screen.


Smartphones aren’t the only electronic devices that LG manufactures. This company also sells other popular electronics like televisions, laptops, and home appliances.




You likely know about Google for this company’s search engine. Considering that, you might be unaware that this company also manufactures electronics, including smartphones, home technology, laptops, and tablets. While this company’s electronics aren’t quite as popular as those made by Apple and Samsung, they’re still popular devices.


Google’s line of smartphones is called the Pixel. Google Pixel smartphones contain lots of useful features and tech that Google is well-known for. These smartphones are capable of storing photos, videos, and other similar data to its cloud platform. This feature is great for people that hate running out of memory and storage space.


All of Google’s electronics also features a built-in Google Assistant. Using the power of Google’s massive network of information, Google Assistant is similar to Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana.




If you live in the United States, you might not be familiar with Huawei. This smartphone company is popular throughout many countries. Based out of China, Huawei Technologies officially launched in 1987. This business is now known as one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers.


In the past few years, Huawei also entered the laptop and smartwatch markets. If you’re working with an international audience, buying and selling Huawei’s smartphones can be a great way to make lots of sales.


Increase Smartphone Sales With These Products



As you’ll soon learn, there are many products that pair extremely well with smartphones. If you include some of the items you’re about to see in your inventory, it can mean even more sales for your business. With that in mind, here are three popular kinds of smartphone accessories you’ll likely want to start carrying.




We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the technology that powers a smartphone. However, another reason these devices remain popular is that they allow people to express their sense of style. One of the best ways to express your style is by having a unique smartphone case.


What might surprise you about some smartphone cases is that they can fetch fairly high prices in the retail market. You can regularly find smartphone covers from OtterBox for upwards of $60. It’s also possible to find other, less popular smartphone cases selling for over $30. The key to success with selling smartphone cases and making a decent profit is to stick with big-name brands.


You might not make much money selling smartphone cases to bargain hunters. However, those who are looking for name-brand cases will be more than happy to spend top dollar for them. When you have these people buying items from your business, it’s easy to watch your company grow quickly.


Charging Cables


You’re not going to get a lot of use out of smartphones without having a way to charge them. With that in mind, you might find that buying and reselling smartphone cables provides your company with more profits.


As it is with cases, you’ll likely make the most profit by selling officially licensed charging cables. This is also great because many people prefer to charge their smartphones with a cable and power supply that comes from an official manufacturer.


Wireless Earbuds


While headphones certainly aren’t new inventions, there have been companies working to make new versions of these products. Chances are, you’ve most likely heard of wireless earbuds when Apple released its AirPods. These products offer a convenient way for people to listen to music, take phone calls, and other activities.


However, Apple isn’t the only company offering wireless earbuds. Other popular earbud brands include Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ or Google’s Pixel Buds. If you can find any of these previously mentioned products, they could bring in lots of additional income for your company.


To wrap things up, finding wholesale cell phones online is easy if you know where to look. By finding the right companies to partner with, you can start quickly having lots of inventory on hand to start selling. You can make even more sales by finding and buying accessories that pair well with smartphones.

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