Refurbished and preowned devices are becoming increasingly popular around the World, with the United States leading the charge. There are 6 key factors driving this trend.
ONE – Sustainability
The sustainability movement is rapidly gaining momentum as we hurtle towards damaging levels of global warming. In this regard, sustainability is driving the growth in refurbished devices from two perspectives. First, more conscious corporates and consumers are actively measuring and improving their sustainability contributions and are choosing refurbished devices as part of their drive to reduce their impact on the environment. Second, increasingly stringent environmental and eWaste regulations in developed economies are demanding that corporates manage their device life cycles more responsibly. Using refurbished devices is an important part of this.
TWO – Professional refurbishment
A major barrier to the adoption of preowned devices is trust. The professionalism of the device refurbishment sector has therefore had a major roll to play in the growing number of preowned devices that are sold. Professional refurbishment facilities ensure high standards of refurbishment, including stringent checking and testing, they offer competitive warranties, first-class support, and industry leading return periods. Because the quality of devices and service emerging from these facilities is genuinely very high, buyers have the comfort that the devices they purchase will keep them productive and will last.
THREE – Awareness
Awareness that preowned, refurbished devices are a viable option is rapidly gaining traction as businesses and consumers try them out and are convinced of their benefits. With cost savings of between 20% and 50% relative to new devices, and the assurance that refurbished phones, laptops, and desktops are reliable and will last, the business case is compelling and existing users are actively encouraging others to try them out.
FOUR – Trade in programmes
Many brands (such as Apple and Samsung) have adopted generous trade in programmes to lower the cost of newly launched devices to their customers. This has created a large and growing source of preowned smartphones and tablets that are in good condition and still have lots of live left in them. Additionally, many corporates have long had a policy of retiring laptops and other devices once they have been written down. Increasingly, these devices are being responsibly sold, refurbished, and fed back into the market, providing a good quality source of preowned computers for businesses, schools, and homes.
FIVE – Hybrid models of work
The hybrid models of work brought about by COVID have dramatically increased business demand for laptops as workers need to be equipped with portable devices. As businesses were faced with the large expense of procuring multiple devices, many opted to reduce costs by purchasing refurbished devices. Many of these businesses have continued to purchase refurbished devices as a preference.
SIX – Chip shortages
When COVID first hit, many factories, including microchip manufacturers, were forced to temporarily close, reducing the supply of microchips. At the same time, with the surge in people working from home, demand for electronic devices (which contain microchips as an essential component) rocketed. The combination of reduced supply and increased demands has driven a global shortage of microchips, which has prevented device manufacturers from producing the number of devices they need to, to keep up with demand. Refurbished devices have provided an important source of phones, laptops, and desktops to meet the market demand which can’t be met by new devices. Again, as users have experienced the benefits of preowned devices, many have elected to continue using them over new devices.
AN AFTERTHOUGHT: THE NUMBERS THAT FRAME THE GROWTH IN REFURBISHED DEVICES
Smartphones. According to the IDC1, in 2020 around 220.4 million refurbished smartphones were sold globally. The same year, 1.38 billion2 new smartphones were sold around the World. That means that out of all smartphones sold globally3, just under 14% of them were preowned. That’s pretty impressive. And it is expected to grow. While shipments of new phones grew 4.5% in 20214, sales of refurbished phones are projected to grow 11.2%1 per annum to 2024.
Laptops and computers (PCs). The global market for refurbished laptops and computers was $9.34 billion in 20205. In the same year, $331.45 billion6 worth of new computers were sold. While refurbished computers represent a much smaller proportion of total devices sold (3%) it is also a quickly growing market. Research and Markets3 suggest that the market is set to grow 11.2% CAGR between 2017 and 2025. This is compared to 2.7% growth in the sales of new devices in 20191.
6 - https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/01/25/2163290/0/en/Global-Computers-Industry-to-Register-a-CAGR-of-10-9-Over-2020-2021-Reaching-a-Market-Size-of-367- Billion.html#:~:text=The%20global%20computers%20market%20is,%3B%20Advantech%3B%20Eurotech%20and%20Kontron.