The issue of sustainability also applies to the electronics industry. While consumers are already changing their habits in other areas such as food, fashion and mobility, there is also increasing pressure on electronics companies to adapt their business models to the circular economy.
In principle, consumers have already become more aware of circular economy models and more sustainable electronics. According to ING's Circular Economy Report, more than half of European consumers say they would not buy electronics from a manufacturer that does not produce and act in an eco-friendly way. In the Asia-Pacific region, as many as 61 percent of consumers would avoid manufacturers who do not take responsibility for the environment.
New models: repair or share
Repairing electronic devices is becoming increasingly popular among consumers. 70 percent of consumers say they would be more likely to have their electronic devices repaired if the manufacturer offered a low-cost repair service. Sweden has already passed a law to introduce lower VAT on the repair of electronic goods in order to encourage consumers to use their purchases for longer. This model benefits not only consumers, but also businesses too. Repair services can lead to a deeper, longer-term relationship between consumers and manufacturers if the customer is able to use their products for longer. In addition, a new second hand market is being created for used electronics, which also provides opportunities for companies in the electronics industry.
Compared to repair services, the model of renting or sharing electronic goods is not so widespread. 78 percent of surveyed consumers are not currently renting an electronic device. Most consumers are put off by concerns about data security and the long-term costs.
Electronics manufacturers need to do more to meet consumers’ needs and to manage their concerns. On the one hand, they should pay more attention to optimising products for reuse and resale by extending the service life of their products. Secondly, companies should make greater use of the enormous economic potential of reusing raw materials from electronic devices, and develop the infrastructure for this purpose. Finally, it is necessary to provide (financial) incentives for consumers to opt for products from the circular economy, for example through new, transparent financing models.
The Dutch company peerby is one of the first companies to establish a platform for consumers to share and rent electronic devices within their immediate neighbourhood. Here you can read about the advantages of the platform for consumers and manufacturers and how the circular economy model could be developed further in the future.