Survey highlights potential back-to-school boost for refurbished devices

30 Aug 2021

Image: © nosorogua/

A study by online marketplace Refurbed found that half of Irish students and parents plan to buy refurbished devices

Many of the consumer electronics purchased in Ireland as students return to school and college this year could be refurbished rather than new items, according to a recent survey.

The poll was commissioned by Refurbed, the refurbished device marketplace, and carried out by Bounce Insights. Researchers spoke to more than 1,000 Irish students aged 18 to 24 and parents aged 35 and over.

Of those, 50pc of students and 51pc of parents said they intended to buy a refurbished device rather than a new one this year. This trend was slightly negatively correlated with age among parents. 54pc of those aged 35 to 44 intended to opt for renewed devices, compared to just 43pc of those aged 55 and over.

In general, most respondents said that they felt the need to buy some kind of consumer electronic for the back-to-school period. 51pc of parents feel “pressured” to purchase their child a device, especially those aged 55 and over, who reported this at a rate of 62pc.

More than three quarters (77pc) of students said they felt the need to make such a purchase.

65pc of parents and 42pc of students intend to spend between €100 and €300 on devices for the return to education. Almost one quarter of students, or 24pc, plan to spend more than €500 on electronics.

Refurbed’s survey also asked participants about their views on refurbished devices generally. 87pc of parents and 77pc of students reported knowing the difference between secondhand devices and those that have undergone renewal.

Peter Windischofer, co-founder of Refurbed, commented on the survey results: “Over the last year and a half, the pandemic has demonstrated the importance that electronic devices play in education. As schools in Ireland begin to reopen, many parents and students will feel the need to update their electronic devices.

“Buying refurbished products assists in lowering your carbon footprint and we are delighted by the large proportions of parents and students in Ireland willing to buy refurbished devices when returning to school.”

He added: “Our refurbishment process sees a 70pc reduction in CO2 emissions compared with the manufacturing of a new product.”

Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey in 2019 found that just 13pc of Irish consumers reported owning a refurbished or secondhand phone.

The difference between that figure and those in the Refurbed survey could be explained by a number of factors: Trends may have changed in the last two years, or consumers might say they intend to buy refurbished but display different behaviour at time of purchase.

At the beginning of August, Austrian start-up Refurbed closed a $54m funding round which it intends to use to expand its market presence across Europe. The company launched in Ireland in March.

The company claims to have saved 31,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions to date through the sale of devices that have gone through its 40-step refurbishment process.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin