Price not sustainability is key factor for consumers when buying tech, CSO finds

Figures show that more people look at storage and processor rather than energy efficiency when choosing electronic devices

Price remains the top factor in deciding what electronic devices to buy, ahead of sustainability consideration, new data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

More than two-thirds of people surveyed said the cost of a device was a key factor, with 59 per cent considering hardware characteristics such as storage and processor.

Only 16 per cent said energy efficiency of a product was important to them, indicating there was still some work to be done on the importance of sustainability. For 12 per cent, the eco design – such as durability, repairability and packaging – was an important consideration. Women were more likely to consider the sustainability of a device.

The figures were published as part of the Sustainability of Personal ICT Devices 2022, the third in a series of publications from the 2022 ICT Household Survey, which was carried out in the first half of 2022.


Among those who responded to the survey, more than two-thirds said their old smartphone or mobile phone was still in the house, either in a drawer or being used by another family member.

Almost half said they had got rid of a laptop or tablet they no longer used, while only 16 per cent had sold or given away their old phone, while 11 per cent did the same with their old laptop or tablet.

Less than 20 per cent said they had brought their recently replaced device to a waste electrical and electronic (WEEE) collection point, with 18 per cent using the e-waste recycling facilities to dispose of laptops and only 13 per cent recycling mobile phones.

In this virtual age, we rely on our phones, laptops, tablets or desktop computers to communicate with each other, remote work from home, watch the news online, do our internet banking, browse or buy Christmas presents online etc,” said Maureen Delamere, statistician in the social analysis division. “We replace some devices more frequently than others, and indeed it may be part of a contract, particularly with a phone provider, that you get an upgrade after a certain period of time. However, we tend to replace devices well in advance of their use-by date as we buy the latest version or model with a better camera or new design.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist