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Recycling and reusage of consumer tech - Statistics & Facts

Over the past decades, consumer electronics have become fundamental both in our personal and professional lives. However, not everyone can afford brand new devices or consumers simply prefer not to spend remarkable amounts of money on such devices. In those cases, lower-cost alternatives are available, like second-hand and refurbished products, which contribute to the reduction of electronic waste and the sustainability of the tech industry. Particularly, second-hand devices are products that were bought and resold, while refurbished goods, also known as reconditioned or manufactured goods, are products that were bought and returned to the retailer, who may adjust or fix them before selling them again. The electronics recycling market is forecast to grow in the coming years, reaching a size of roughly 66 billion U.S. dollars by 2026.

Refurbished consumer electronics devices

Nowadays, consumers can buy most electronic devices refurbished. Refurbished smartphones are the most common, with over 251 million units shipped globally in 2021, a year when the refurbished smartphone market was worth roughly 50 billion U.S. dollars. In the same year, Latin America and India led this market, registering the highest market growth. The refurbished PC market has also been growing and is expected to increase further in the coming years. As observed in the smartphone refurb market, the big market players – like Apple, Dell, and HP – offer refurbished versions of their products for lower prices.

Special focus: refurbished smartphones in the United States

Although the United States plays a big role in the refurbished smartphone market, Americans appear to prefer to buy new phones instead of refurbished ones, particularly because they worry about the quality of their smartphones. Those who do buy refurbished devices usually prefer Apple iPhones rather than Android smartphones. Indeed, in the United States, iPhones are the most popular refurbished smartphones, especially the iPhone XR and the iPhone 11.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Recycling and reusage of consumer tech".


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