The repair market of household appliances in France is rapidly expanding. More and more French prefer to repair their home appliances and electronic devices instead of replacing them. The most frequently repaid products in France are electric home appliances. In contrast, high-tech products ranked fifth in terms of repair occurrence. On average, over 50 percent of large household appliances in the country suffered a breakdown within the first five years of their lifespan. Miele products were reported to have the lowest breakdown rate, at 38 percent. This comes as no surprise as breakdown rates for premium brands specialized in the manufacturing of household appliances were considerably lower compared to budget-friendly manufacturers. For instance, when it comes to washing machines, Miele’s products had an average lifespan of over ten years, while the one from Samsung was almost three times lower.
In 2019, the French government drafted an anti-waste legal framework, obliging sellers to display precise information regarding the repairability of several household appliances and electronic devices. Subsequently, as of January 1, 2021, France became the first country in Europe where the repairability index was implemented on five categories of products: smartphones, laptops, televisions, washing machines, and lawnmowers. The manufacturer of the products calculates the repairability index by considering five main criteria: documentation, disassembly, availability, and price of spare parts, as well as product-specific aspects. Eight months after the repairability index became mandatory, almost 50 percent of French were aware of its existence, and understood its purpose. Moreover, nine out of ten people in France agreed that the repairability index would prove particularly useful for customers, helping them choose the most sustainable products. People also agreed that the repairability index would make household appliances and electronic devices manufacturers design better products in the future. By January 2024, the French government plans to replace the repairability index with a durability index, encompassing both repairability and durability aspects.
Repair, reduce, recycle
Overall, more than eight out of ten French agree that the repair industry helps preserve the environment. Nevertheless, the repair industry in France has a substantial impact on the country’s economy by supporting local businesses and generating a high number of jobs. In 2019, the average repair rate of appliances in case of a breakdown stood at 54 percent. In contrast, the replacement rate totaled 54 percent, with large household appliances being more likely to be repaired than small household appliances. France's most preferred repair service came from independent stores and private individuals at the expense of more prominent companies or manufacturers. While there is still plenty of space to improve sustainable behavior among consumers and manufacturers, France's repairability index sets an example for other countries.
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