Refurbished tech sales grow as Irish users mind their carbon footprint

Survey for electronics firm Refurbed finds 73% willing to buy second-hand devices

Refurbed founders Jürgen Riedl, Peter Windischhofer and Kilian Kaminski. Mr Windischhofer said the pandemic had shown the need for electronic devices from reliable sources.

Refurbed founders Jürgen Riedl, Peter Windischhofer and Kilian Kaminski. Mr Windischhofer said the pandemic had shown the need for electronic devices from reliable sources.

 

Irish consumers are increasingly considering their carbon footprint when choosing technology, with a growing number willing to consider refurbished or second-hand devices in a bid to become more eco-friendly.

Seventy-three per cent of consumers said they would buy a refurbished device if it lowered their carbon footprint, with that number rising to 88 per cent among 18-to-24-year-olds, according to a survey carried out for electronics marketplace Refurbed.

More than half of consumers would buy refurbished devices in the future.

Although environmental concerns were high, price was also a significant factor, with product affordability a key concern for 54 per cent of shoppers, with 51 per cent citing the lower cost of the devices as a reason for buying. Some 30 per cent of respondents said they purchased a refurbished device in the past.

Refurbed co-founder Peter Windischhofer said price and sustainability were closely entwined for consumers.

“I think it’s great that we see that the Irish consumer really ties sustainability in electronics with refurbished products,” he said. “We see the consumer realises it matters what they buy, that consumer choice matters.”

However, there is still some way to go, with 56 per cent of respondents preferring new products and 55 per cent citing a lack of trust in the performance of the refurbished electronic devices compared to new ones.

Others cited warranty concerns as the reason for opting for new devices. The research was conducted by Empathy Research and surveyed more than 1,000 Irish adults aged 18 and over.

Boom in spending

“People still have hesitations when it comes to second-hand and refurbished projects, but we’ve proven in our main geographies that we can really have a very high quality, and this is what our brand stands for in Austria and Germany. We want to build that same reputation in Ireland, ” Mr Windischhofer said.

The survey comes as remote working and home schooling led to a boom in spending on electronic devices. Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they had spent more than €500 on electronic devices over the last year to help with online learning.

Mr Windischhofer said the pandemic had shown the need for electronic devices from reliable sources.

“We use our customers as spokespeople,” Mr Windischhofer. “This is what works the best if we make our customers happy. We will ultimately become a successful company because of our customers – our ambassadors, our spokespeople.”

The Austrian start-up, which offers more than 8,000 products including smartphones, laptops and tablets, launched in Ireland earlier this year. Its refurbishment process includes a 40-step procedure to return products to factory condition before they are sold.

The company also plants a tree for every product sold to offset carbon emissions created during the refurbishing process in countries such as Haiti, Madagascar, Kenya, Indonesia, Mozambique and Nepal through its partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects.

Founded in 2017 by Mr Windischhofer, Kilian Kaminski and Jürgen Riedl, Refurbed employs more than 100 people and operates in five countries: Austria, Germany, Poland, Italy and Ireland.