Study: what do people think about refurbished electronics?

published on 11 July 2023

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, refurbished electronics have gained popularity in recent years. However, many people are still hesitant to buy refurbished devices due to concerns about device quality. To better understand consumer perceptions of refurbished smartphones, Minthive conducted a survey of 131 potential end-users, with 54% from Great Britain, 10% from Romania, 5% from Ireland, 3% from Lithuania, and 28% from the rest of Europe.

Have you ever bought a refurbished device?

The survey revealed that more than half of respondents (58%) had purchased a refurbished device before, while the remaining 42% of respondents had not purchased a refurbished device, with the main reason being the lack of information about the device in question (29%). Other reasons include the assumption that new devices are better (24%), discouragement from the price, and the perception that refurbished devices lack quality.

Do you trust refurbished devices?

Interestingly, the majority of respondents (73%) reported that they trust refurbished devices. However, the reasoning behind this trust tells a different story, with one-third of people who trust refurbished products actually trusting the retail company they interact with, not the product itself. This highlights the need for companies to provide more detailed information about the device itself, such as device history and repair reports, to build consumer trust.

If you decided to buy a used smartphone, what is the most important information you would want to know about the device?

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To encourage more participation in the refurbished device market, respondents identified several data points they would like to see, with device history being the most suggested (31%). Other key data points include device battery status (21%) and overall device condition (21%). Respondents also expressed interest in a product that would provide more detailed information about the refurbished device, with more than 87% reacting positively.

Conclusion

The findings of our survey highlight the importance of transparency and historical device data in the refurbished consumer electronics market. Businesses that prioritize transparency and provide detailed device histories can address customer concerns, build trust, and enhance the overall customer experience. 

As we look towards the future, it is clear that transparency and historical device data will remain pivotal in the success of the refurbished consumer electronics market. Companies that embrace these practices, provide transparent history reports, and effectively communicate the benefits of refurbished devices will be well-positioned to capitalize on the increasing consumer interest and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.