Vodafone and Recommerce© Unveil Sustainable Shift: Europeans Favor Refurbished Phones

Vodafone and Recommerce© Unveil Sustainable Shift: Europeans Favor Refurbished Phones

(IN BRIEF) The latest Recommerce© Barometer, presented in collaboration with Vodafone during Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona, reveals a significant surge in European consumer interest in refurbished smartphones. Key findings indicate that over half of Europeans are now open to purchasing refurbished devices, driven primarily by cost-effectiveness and environmental considerations. With the refurbished smartphone market expected to surpass 431 million units by 2027, this trend underscores a growing preference for sustainable choices among mobile users. Moreover, the partnership between Vodafone and Recommerce© ensures consumer confidence through high-quality refurbished handsets backed by a 24-month warranty. This burgeoning trend towards refurbished smartphones also aligns with a growing inclination towards trading in old devices, further emphasizing the shift towards a circular economy for mobile devices across Europe.

(PRESS RELEASE) BERKSHIRE, 23-Feb-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — European consumers are displaying a remarkable inclination towards considering refurbished smartphones, as unveiled in the latest Recommerce© Barometer, presented in collaboration with Vodafone (LON: VOD), a British multinational leader in technology communications, during Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona.

The 6th edition of the Recommerce© Barometer sheds light on the expanding market for second-hand smartphones, which reached a global scale of 309 million units in 2023 and is anticipated to surpass 431 million units by 2027, despite inflationary challenges persisting from 2022 onwards.

According to the research, over 43% of Europeans have previously owned a refurbished smartphone, indicating a sustained preference among mobile users. Despite economic pressures, with 35% of Europeans planning to upgrade their smartphones within the next year, refurbished devices are poised to account for a significant share, with an estimated 27 million units projected to be sold. Notably, more than half (52%) of Europeans expressed their willingness to opt for refurbished smartphones in the future.

The findings, unveiled within the Recommerce© Barometer, an annual analysis of consumer sentiments towards refurbished smartphones, underscore a growing trend observed across twelve major European markets, including newly included regions such as Ireland and Portugal.

Augmenting this trend is the escalating demand for professionally refurbished devices, with over 60% of consumers in markets like Romania and Spain indicating their intention to purchase refurbished smartphones. Established markets like France already witness refurbished smartphones capturing up to 15% of the total retail market share, with over 35% of consumers having already embraced refurbished options.

Nick Dutch, Vodafone Global Head of Device Lifecycle Services, remarked, “Customers are now considering refurbished devices more than ever, so that they can get a great value phone that is better for the planet than buying a new one. Buying a refurbished phone from Vodafone helps customers get the phone they want for less with added peace of mind.”

Echoing this sentiment, Augustin Becquet, CEO of Recommerce©, emphasized, “We are at the forefront of this shift in consumer behaviour, offering high-quality, refurbished devices that help make a significant environmental impact. Our partnership with Vodafone is a testament to our shared vision of a sustainable future, where technology serves as a catalyst for positive change.”

Driven primarily by affordability concerns, with premium smartphone models exceeding €1,000, European consumers are turning to refurbished options, with 67% citing cost-effectiveness as a key factor. Environmental considerations emerge as the second most significant driver (39%), reflecting a growing awareness of the ecological benefits associated with refurbished devices.

In alignment with this trend, Vodafone and Recommerce© ensure consumer confidence by offering only high-quality refurbished handsets backed by a 24-month warranty. Each refurbished smartphone undergoes rigorous testing to ensure functionality, cleanliness, and data security.

Moreover, the inclination towards trading in smartphones is gaining momentum, with 35% of consumers expressing interest in trading or selling their current mobile devices for subsequent refurbishment and resale, underscoring a burgeoning trend towards a circular economy for devices across Europe.

As consumer preferences align with sustainability goals, the surge in demand for refurbished smartphones signals a paradigm shift in the mobile industry, emphasizing the pivotal role of refurbished devices in fostering a more sustainable future.


[1] IDC report, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2023–2027

[2] Online survey conducted from 11-15 January 2024, among 7750 individuals in 12 countries: France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Portugal, and Ireland, aged 16 to 65 years old, representative of individuals living in each country. To guarantee the representativeness of the sample, the weight of the mobile operator was adjusted using the framing data available from Kantar.

[3] ARCEP annual analysis on sustainable digital world : https://www.arcep.fr/cartes-et-donnees/nos-publications-chiffrees/impact-environnemental/enquete-annuelle-pour-un-numerique-soutenable-edition-2023.html

[4] Source is a lifecycle assessment study (Erwann Fangeat, ADEME, et al, Assessment of the environmental impact of a set of refurbished products – Final Report (2022)), which found that a refurbished phone used for 2 years creates 24.6kg CO2e less carbon emissions per year when compared to a new phone used for 3 years (according to the study results shown on page 64). Over the 2-year period of use of the refurbished phone, this avoids around 50kg CO2e of carbon emissions. The study found that a refurbished phone has an 87% lower contribution to climate change (or ‘GWP’) compared to a new phone. The study also found that buying and using a refurbished phone instead of a new phone requires the extraction of 76.9kg less raw materials (page 64).

For the full study, see https://librairie.ademe.fr/dechets-economie-circulaire/5833-assessment-of-the-environmental-impact-of-a-set-of-refurbished-products.html

About Recommerce©

RECOMMERCE GROUP is Europe’s pioneer in the refurbishment of high-tech products, particularly smartphones. Founded in 2009, Recommerce buys used equipment, offers software and application trade-in solutions to retailers, individuals and companies, and refurbishes and resells reconditioned equipment, including smartphones and games consoles. The company distributes its refurbished products under the “Recommerce©” brand name, and sells them on www.recommerce.com as well as in many European countries via distributors and telecom operators. As part of its commitment to the circular and responsible economy, the company promotes the recovery and reuse of equipment through the application of artificial intelligence technologies applied to the industrial sector.

Founded by Pierre-Etienne Roinat, Benoit Varin, Cédric Maucourt and Antoine Jeanjean, Recommerce has become one of Europe’s leaders in the refurbishment and resale of high-tech products. Recommerce is part of the Next 40 promotion 2020 and the French Tech 120 promotion 2021 and 2022, is certified ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 by DNV and is labelled RecQ – ReConditionnement de Qualité, the first European label certifying the quality of the end product by DEKRA Certification, as well as rated Gold by Ecovadis for its CSR policy.

For further information: www.recommerce-group.com

About Vodafone

Vodafone is the largest pan-European and African telecoms company. We provide mobile and fixed services to over 300 million customers in 17 countries, partner with mobile networks in 45 more and have one of the world’s largest IoT platforms. In Africa, our financial technology businesses serve more than 76 million customers across eight countries – managing more transactions than any other provider. Our purpose is to connect for a better future by using technology to improve lives, businesses and help progress inclusive sustainable societies. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact to reach net zero emissions by 2040.

For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com, follow us on X (formerly Twitter) at @VodafoneGroup or connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/vodafone.

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