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Refurbished smartphones are better than their reputation

Refurbished smartphones are better than their reputation

Reprocessing electrical appliances can save valuable resources and carbon dioxide2 Save on.Image: Shutterstock

Remanufactured smartphones are becoming more popular, writes Swiss online retailer Digitec Galaxus. From January to April 2024, customers bought more than twice as many refurbished smartphones than in the same period last year. However, sales of refurbished devices have increased significantly over the past year or two.

“On the one hand, news is spreading about refurbished smartphones Better than their reputation “It's more sustainable,” Galaxos says. On the other hand, the devices are attractive thanks to their low prices.

Although refurbished devices come used, they are tested by service providers and repaired if necessary. In addition, customers usually receive a twelve-month warranty.

However, skepticism about refurbished mobile phones remains widespread. Providers often give vague descriptions such as “good condition.” The lack of product photos of the devices used is another point of criticism.

Consumers are particularly concerned about getting a device with a weak battery. This fear is largely unfounded, German consumer protection organization Stiftung Warentest reported at the beginning of 2023. Providers of refurbished devices guarantee a battery capacity of 80 or 85 percent. Simply replacing the battery with the highest remaining capacity is against the environmental principles of remanufactured devices.

According to the German Consumer Advice Center, 91 percent of buyers are satisfied with their refurbished smartphones.

Who buys refurbished smartphones?

At least at Digitec Galaxus, four out of every five refurbished devices go to private customers. Corporate customers are also said to frequently rely on used equipment.

It is mainly people over 35 who buy refurbished smartphones.

It is mainly people over 35 who buy refurbished smartphones. Graphics: Digitech Galaxus

“Most refurbished smartphones go to customers aged 35 to 44. People aged 45 to 54 follow closely behind. Many more devices are still sold to people over 55, than to people under Under 25 years of age, it should be noted that “the number of online shoppers in this age group is greater than the number of teenagers.”

The renewed boom is likely to continue in the next few years. A fair number of smartphone users see no reason to buy a new expensive device due to limited technical progress. Additionally, current cell phones from Google, Samsung, and Apple are designed to last about seven years, so they receive software updates for that long.

Upcoming and stricter repair laws in Europe and the United States also require electrical appliances to be easier to repair. This also extends the life of smartphones, tablets, etc. and provides businesses with refurbished devices.

There is still a long way to go until refurbished smartphones become as normal to us as used cars.


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