Laptops have become very common gadgets in our lives today. It’s one of the gadgets that is known by a lot of people on this planet. It’s used by schools, corporate institutions, hospitals among others for various purposes. Its interesting to know that the very young people in urban areas have become so attached to laptops and other gadgets like that so much that a lot of things that were done by writing has now become laptop associated. A decade back, laptops were not as common as now. Those days one was considered privileged to see some. Those who got the opportunity to even touch them were considered heroes.
In Ghana laptops have become popular due to a lot of interest that people, most especially students have placed on it. Even people who haven’t been to school have become interested in laptop or computer related issues. It’s not shocking to know that almost every student in the tertiary level needs one to make studies smooth since its used for assignments, project work and haters. Those who don’t have keep bugging friends “ Chaley can I get your machine?..i get assignment o. Not everyone you see using a laptop may have bought it fresh from its box. Some people use laptops which have been slightly used. Someone said.. ‘if the slightly used one can perform the same task as the new one why do I have to get a new one? “
Going around Accra under the scorching sun I realized that the sale of laptops has become a very big business in Ghana. These laptops are either new or slightly used which is referred too as second hand laptops or home used. The laptop sellers were in the same lane as the phone sellers and other electronic gadgets. I had to severally answer the question “ do you want to swap your phone”
At Accra (Circle), I was able to talk to over ten dealers of second-hand laptops. Most of the dealers were not in shops. They sat under shades provided by umbrellas or trees. These products were displayed in glass shelves. How I got some of them to give me their attention is even suprising because most of these guys were looking for buyers. Like one guy said “ madam no long talk o am too hungry to talk so you must buy something o”. Out of the places I visited in Accra- Cricle, just three of the dealers were in shops which were well furnished and fully air conditioned and I must confess I had to spend longer time at such places so I could catch some cool air!
Most of these dealers normally sell mobile phones as well. Some shops I visited sold laptops but just brand new. Most of these second hand dealers had others things they did like repairs and sale of laptop parts. Some of these parts didn’t look like what I would want to buy because to me they looked “tired” but these sellers said they have goods for every kind of person and that what I may not like someone would love…
Some dealers didn’t have time to talk to me because they were busy doing some other things. With such people I left as soon as they told me they didn’t have time because I didn’t want any trouble. Some others people gave me just a little of their time though. It communicated to me that these were really trying to make ends meet and anyone who wasn’t making that happen was a stumbling block. The first person who gave me some time and made a deal with me that I stay a bit longer after he’s done talking to me so I could get him customers with my smiles. He said that he had brands like Dell, HP, Toshiba and Asus. According to him, he’s been in the business for almost six years now. He said also that depending on the specifications (popularly known as specs) like storage, RAM, graphics among others, the price of a second hand laptop ranges between 650 Cedis to 2000 Cedis. He said he had Dual core, i3 and i5. Upon asking how long these laptops had been used for before they were brought to Ghana he said they haven’t been used for more than four months.
The next dealer I went to had a very nice shop. He had in stock HP Dual Core, i5, and i7, Acer, Toshiba, Dell and Lenovo. He confirmed that the price of the laptop was dependent on the specs. He said HP envy M6 was going for 1500 Cedis, Toshiba Dual Core satellite for 800 Cedis. He also said that dual core i5 goes for between 700 Cedis and 1000 Cedis depending on the space of the internal memory. This dealer told me that it’s not every day that he makes sale but whenever it happens that way he makes up for the loss anytime he sells. I really wanted to take picture but he didn’t allow and gave the excuse that now “Ghana has become scary” and he doesn’t want any trouble.
Another dealer of second hand who said he was called Chief had laptops of brands; HP Lenovo, Dell and MacBook. He also confirmed what the others said early on that the price was based on the specs more than the brand. He however said that things are different when it comes to MacBook products. Their specs are quite different from the other brands. He said that the second hand laptop can cost as much as 9000 Cedis depending on the internal memory, graphics, RAM and others. He said the MacBook Pro, 500gig, 8gig was going for 2700, even though second hand. I said to him “this price is quite outrageous, does it mean the laptop won’t spoil?……he gave me an interesting answer ” “so you handle it like an egg”
My next stop took me to a dealer who deals in only HP laptops. He had dual core, i3, i5, i7 and touch screen laptops. He said the prices ranges between 1700 Cedis to 3000 Cedis. Most of the people like I said were a bit too tight to be involved in a conversation and just gave me anything they thought would make me go away faster.
My search to see how well second hand laptop business is doing in Ghana took me to another busy place in Ghana, Lapaz. It is a business place where a lot of goods and services can be found. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get as many places to see as I did in Accra. Most of the shops I was directed to as laptop shops sold just mobile phones. It wasn’t a good feeling at all because I had to walk to places that were so not necessary.
The first shop I got the chance to see had brands like Lenovo, HP and Asus. The dealer said that he only orders the laptops upon request. He has the 7th Generation Asus Laptop going for 830 Cedis, HP A12 (i7) 1 terabyte itel 8GB RAMTouch for 2300. He said also that most of the times the specifications of the machine determine the price. These laptops have been used for less than six months and are brought from the UK. The next dealer didn’t really have so much time to offer. He said that the price of a second hand laptop can go as low as 550 Cedis and as high as 2500 Cedis. He also confirmed that it’s the Mac Book brand that usually cost more. He said that what He has available is usually HP, Dell, and Toshiba. At that moment he had run out of stock and so I should come back when he restocks.
A laptop repairer I met said that he doesn’t sell second hand laptops but only does when he repairs a laptop and the owner fails to come for it after a particular time. He gave the price range of 700-1600 Cedis. I couldn’t imagine bringing my laptop for repairs and later coming for it only to have it sold. I asked if he’s not afraid of someone taking police action but he said oh… nobody can do that because they settle on that even before he tales the laptop to repair.
My next stop was the Madina market, another busy area for traders. I must confess that I was exhausted already and almost got discouraged when the first two shops I visited said they were not into second hand laptops but only brand new ones. The attendant I met in one of those shops said that the reason why they don’t do second hand is because it’s a bit risky. One other person I interacted with who was a repairer said that a second hand laptop would go for anything between 650 and 2000, depending on the specs. The next dealer had Dell, Samsung and HP i5 and i7. According to him with 850 Cedis, one could get a good laptop. He also confirmed that price is based on specs. Upon asking if he knows how long these machines have been used for, he said he doesn’t know but he knows a good machine when he sees one. This other dealer said that he had HP, MacBook and Samsung brands. He wasn’t really free to give details but he made me understand that the MacBook brands cos more expensive and are of a higher quality compared to the others. He said they get their products from UK. The only female dealer I met had in stock Dell, Asus, MacBook. She said their laptops had memory between 4gig and 1 terabyte and were imported from China and sometimes from other dealers in Circle. She wasn’t too opened and gave the excuse that she’s doesn’t want anything to happen that she will held responsible for. Another dealer I met whom I must confess had time for me said that the laptop business he thinks is making a lot of waves in Ghana. According to him a lot of people tend to buy second hand because they can’t afford to buy the brand new one due to the very high prices. Available were HP, Acer, Toshiba, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung. He said that from them you can get 500 gig Hard Drive and 4gig memory. His boss gets from the Dubai and South Africa these second hand laptops. He said a lot of people patronize some particular types because they know a friend who uses that particular brand and has testified on it. He said some brands don’t sell because they are popular elsewhere and not in Ghana and hence people don’t trust the brands. I really had a nice time talking to this guy who called himself Ralph. Derived from Japan, this dealer had HP, Dell, Lenovo, Thinkpad, i5, i7 and dual core. This dealer said that business wasn’t so good and he’s stopping soon and venturing into another business. I wanted to know what he was going to do next but he wasn’t so sure.
From the survey I realized that most of the dealers said that they got the laptops from either UK or USA. Just a few mentioned other places like; China, Japan, South Africa and Dubai. They also it clear that these second hand laptops hadn’t been used for more than six months. Some are just a month old. Upon asking if it was a risky business, most of them said once you are able to check whether the product is in good shape before buying then you don’t have a problem. HP brand was the most trusted hence popular among all the places visited. Some of the dealers said that that’s the brand people are more used to. Moreover it’s a good brand. From my enquiries I also got to know that most of these dealers were mobile phone sellers who have expanded business into selling of second hand laptops and haven’t been in operation for more than ten years.
Second laptop computers according to the dealers are more patronized compared to brand new ones. The dealers said that the reason can be attributed to financial constraints. Most of these customers are not good financially to meet the high prices of the brand new ones. Moreover, if the second hand laptop can perform just like the brand new one then why not save some money. A guy said “after all nobody would know if you use a second hand laptop or a brand new one if you don’t tell them. Most of them complained that the only challenge they saw with the business was that, the products come without boxes hence they need very proper handling and sometime they don’t have time to do any slow motion movements. Sometimes before they get here, I mean Ghana, they are a bit scratched and hence customers want to take them for a lower price. Some also faced the challenge of getting stores. The prices associated with getting a shop in Accra comes at a very high cost but most of these dealers are up and coming and can’t afford it hence they tend to get a place, an umbrella and a shelve they keep the machines inside. Sometimes during the rainy seasons it’s a bit difficult. I can’t rent a store and buy AC whiles at the end of the day I can’t always sell anything said one Joe. I also found out that the dealers comprised mostly of Ghanaians and Nigerians. Most of these people sold to students and other business guys. A lot of them were not into wholesale because they didn’t have the means. Those who were into whole sale were more of the ones who had fully furnished air conditioned shops with sign posts or boards leading to the place.
In all I believe the business of second hand laptop in Ghana is not doing bad at all. Though profit wasn’t coming in everyday, they were making good money. Looking at the places I went to most of these people were very interested in the business and were hoping to expand.