The Tech Re-commerce Revolution

Increasingly, consumers are taking a more environmentally-conscious approach to purchasing and consumption. The buy-use-dispose cycle is fast becoming a thing of the past for many product categories, and we’re seeing growing numbers of consumers being open to renting, buying and selling of previously-owned items, and more thought being given to the recycling or repurposing of items at end of life. In fact, ‘re-commerce’ now contributes a total of £6.99 billion to the UK economy.

Tech is certainly no exception, and we’re seeing more sustainable shopping habits being adopted across the board. Our research showed that 38% of UK consumers already own a refurbished device, with a further third saying that, while they don’t currently own a refurbished device, they would consider purchasing one in future.

Meanwhile, 73% said that environmental impact is important to them when disposing of their old devices, and 77% said they would consider trading in their unwanted devices to be recycled in future.

The tech rental market is also growing, with entertainment and electronics becoming the largest rental growth category, making up 16% of the total re-commerce market and contributing £209 million in the last 12 months.


‘Gen Green’

While it’s promising to see more environmentally friendly tech purchasing and disposal behaviours from Brits in general, our research suggests it’s the millennial generation leading the charge, especially when it comes to purchasing second-hand devices. Research from Barclays found that younger millennials (those aged 25-34) are the largest contributors to the recommerce economy, accounting for 28% with an estimated £1.95 billion spent on second hand items in the past year alone.

In addition, we found that over half (51%) of millennials currently own a refurbished device, putting them some way in front of the 22% of those aged 59 and above. When our ‘gen green’ were asked about their reasons behind opting for refurbished devices over new, sustainability was identified as a main driver (30%), coming second only to cash reasons (55%).

We also found millennials to be more environmentally conscious than other generations, with awareness around the impact of e-waste on the environment highest among this generation at 82%, while 72% say environmental impact is important to them when disposing of their old devices.


Why buy refurbished?

While environmental and cost reasons are key drivers for purchasing second-hand, there are so many other factors that make refurbished tech a good way to go. Refurbished phones offer quality without the price tag – When buying from a reputable refurbisher, you can rest assured you’ll be getting a quality device, without forking out for the cost of a brand-new one. If you’re not bothered about getting your hands on the shiniest, newest models, this is a cost-effective way to satisfy your tech requirements