UK Market For Trading Pre-Owned Electricals Could Be Worth £3bn

12-12-13(5)picThe UK electricals sector will collaborate on new ways of working through a new initiative, the Sustainable Electricals Action Plan, which was set out in the Waste Prevention Plan for England yesterday (11 Dec). 

It will be delivered by WRAP, which has today (12 Dec) published new research in its report Switched on to Value.

It is being developed to bring together businesses from the electricals sector to explore and take action on the significant opportunities that could boost the UK economy. For example, encouraging trade-in of used TVs alone could grow UK GDP by around £800m per year.

Previous WRAP research showed that around 25 percent of electrical and electronic products discarded by householders at recycling centres were suitable for re-use.

Liz Goodwin, WRAP – “Adopting these new ideas would give customers better value and would help the UK take a step towards a more circular economy – keeping the products in use for longer and offsetting the global impact of making new products”

If these products were re-used and the lifetimes of shorter-life products were extended, the country could save up to 170,000 tonnes of resources, delivering a carbon benefit of around 1.1m tonnes CO2 per year.

It’s estimated that UK householders have at least £1bn worth of electrical and electronic equipment in their homes, which is no longer used but still holds significant value.

WRAP estimates the UK market value for trading pre-owned equipment could be worth up to £3bn. WRAP’s new consumer research indicates an appetite for trading in consumer electronics and purchasing more reliable appliances.

Willing To Trade-In

A market for this business model is evident with two thirds of consumers saying they would be willing to trade-in their technology products such as TVs, tablets and cameras through a reputable retailer. Providing such a service would enable consumers to release the value they didn’t realise they had and offset the cost of a new product, or upgrade to a new model sooner.

And, in addition to this, 55 percent of those surveyed said they were likely or very likely to buy second-hand technology products. Therefore, if retailers adopt a trade-in model they could meet consumer demand and access new markets by reselling the unwanted items.

However, the current barrier facing consumers is that more than half said they were unsure or didn’t know where they could trade in. By tackling that issue, and providing a financial incentive to consumers, businesses could improve their bottom line and have more satisfied customers.

WRAP is looking to work with companies in evaluating and demonstrating new trade-in approaches.

The trade-in model is already being used for mobile phones and Mazuma claims to “re-home” around 1.8m mobile phones each year: that’s equivalent to 10 percent of the UK smartphone market, consider this for other technology products and the opportunities are vast.

Improving Design

The report also reveals that up to a third of household appliances such as washing machines, fridge freezers and vacuum cleaners are not lasting as long as people would like.

One way for the sector to deliver on this is through design specification for products that last longer; WRAP’s product design reviews revealed 15 out of 16 products could be improved to deliver significant cost savings and reduced returns through simple changes in the design and production process.

This offers significant opportunities for brands and retailers to address customer expectations grow their market and strengthen brand value whilst reducing costs, particularly when product returns cost the UK economy £400m each year.

In order to realise the significant financial and environmental gains, WRAP will help businesses investigate these options, and take action, through the Sustainable Electricals Action Plan. This new initiative will encourage the partnerships needed to develop a more robust market for product trading, repair, re-use, and ultimately seek to have products designed for long life and multiple use.

Dr. Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP, said: “In a world of diminishing resources it’s critical that we act now. The amount that we’re throwing away is incredible – a sheer waste of precious resources. This report reveals real opportunities where we can change that and reap both financial and environmental benefits.

“The report indicates clear advantages to changing the way electrical and electronic products are made and sold. Adopting these new ideas would give customers better value and would help the UK take a step towards a more circular economy – keeping the products in use for longer and offsetting the global impact of making new products.”

For the full report CLICK HERE

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