July 24, 2024
Refurbished Electronics

Rise of Refurbished Electronics Market

The advancement in technology has drastically improved our lives in the last few decades. However, with new technology comes the aging of existing devices and e-waste. More and more people are opting for pre-owned or refurbished electronics as a sustainable and affordable alternative. This has led to the tremendous growth of the refurbished electronics market.

What are Refurbished Electronics?

Refurbished Electronics refer to previously used electronic devices that have been inspected, repaired, and cleaned by manufacturers or third-party refurbishers. Any defective parts or components are replaced to make the device look and function like new. The devices are thoroughly tested to ensure they meet the original manufacturer’s standards before being resold at a much lower price than new models. Common examples of refurbished electronics include smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, gaming consoles, and other consumer devices.

Key Advantages of Buying Refurbished Electronics

Affordability: Refurbished electronics are significantly cheaper than new devices of the same model. Customers can save 30-50% or more on popular brands. This makes refurbished electronics an affordable option for those working with limited budgets.

Backed by Warranty: Legitimate refurbished electronics come with a warranty, typically around 12 months. This protects buyers from defects and malfunctions during the warranty period. Extended warranty plans are also available for some devices.

Environmentally Friendly: Choosing refurbished over new electronics helps reduce e-waste sent to landfills. It promotes the reuse of existing components and prevents the extraction of new raw materials for device production. This makes refurbished electronics a more sustainable choice.

Quality and Performance: Today’s refurbished devices go through rigorous inspections and repairs. Any faulty components are replaced with genuine OEM parts to ensure excellent performance. In many cases, refurbished devices are indistinguishable from brand new models in terms of functionality and lifespan.

Growing Range of Options: All major manufacturers and retailers now offer a variety of refurbished laptops, phones, and other products. Shoppers have a wide selection of brands, models, prices, and specifications to choose from.

The Rise of Refurbished Marketplaces

With the advantages outlined above, it is no surprise that the refurbished electronics market has grown exponentially in recent years. According to estimates, the global refurbished goods market was valued at around $60 billion in 2019. It is expected to reach over $160 billion by 2026 as more people warm up to the idea of purchasing renewed devices.

Major online marketplaces have played a key role in driving this growth. Platforms such as Amazon Renewed, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart have made it easy to browse thousands of refurbished listings from the comfort of your home. They provide consistent certification programs, buyer protection, and return/exchange policies to establish trust with customers. Popular phone resellers like BackMarket and Gazelle have also boosted the market.

Original manufacturers have taken notice of the opportunity as well. Apple, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, etc. now offer official refurbished stores and product lines. Enterprise buyers also contribute significantly due to bulk technology refreshes in businesses and institutions. Overall, North America currently dominates refurbished electronics spending, while Asian markets are showing high growth potential.

Manufacturing Partnerships and Drop in E-waste

As the market matures, manufacturers are forming strategic partnerships with third-party refurbishers to gain better control over the process. Brands can ensure devices meet OEM standards and strengthen recyclability programs. This type of collaboration helps boost refurbished product quality and traceability. At the same time, it creates factory jobs in repair, refurbishment, and components recovery.

With the higher reuse rate of electronics, the refurbished market has played a notable role in reducing e-waste. Studies show refurbishing can increase a product’s lifespan by an average of 17 months, thereby preventing premature disposal. Proper refurbishment and certified resellers also help recover more electronic components for recycling or resale. As large electronic retailers expand their certified pre-owned selections, e-waste numbers from discarded devices are projected to decline further in the coming years.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the refurbished market has seen tremendous success so far, it still faces certain barriers to even greater expansion globally. One issue is weak or absent legislation around e-waste disposal and reuse standards in many developing nations. This poses challenges for building sustainable reverse supply chains and collection programs worldwide. There is also a lack of consumer awareness about legitimate refurbished sellers in some regions.

However, the industry has immense potential because of favorable megatrends like rising environmentalism, embrace of circular economy principles, and fast-growing Asian and African markets embracing used goods. If key players resolve operational challenges through self-regulation and raise transparency, the refurbished business could capture a much larger share of technology upgrades worldwide. This would bring affordable tech access to more users while protecting the planet from unnecessary e-waste volumes for generations to come.

In summary, advances in device refurbishment, growing acceptance of renewed goods, strong retail channels, and sustainable practices are fueling the rapid expansion of the global refurbished electronics industry. With continued innovation and cooperation across supply chain stakeholders, the certified pre-owned business looks set for further growth that benefits both businesses and the environment in tandem for many years to come. With the right policies and standards in place, refurbished electronics show great promise to transform into a major circular economy success story on a global scale.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it