Refurbishers sound off in E-Scrap survey

Refurbishers sound off in E-Scrap survey

In a reversal of a three-year trend, the percentage of E-Scrap Processor Survey respondents who said their resale values improved year-over-year (YOY) increased in 2010 to 32 percent, up from a mere three percent in 2009. Accordingly, the number who reported that YOY resale values declined fell to 47 percent, from last year's high of 74 percent.

The consumer re-use and refurbishment market has continued to decline, driven largely by OEMs and retailers flooding the consumer electronics market with new devices that are comparable in price to used goods, but are packed with more features. The business IT market, on the other hand, is booming. Even though corporations have been hesitant to hire new employees, broader economic trends show they are investing in computers and IT and office equipment to maximize the productivity of their existing workforce. For businesses that require bulk orders of workstations and equipment, refurbished PCs provided a cost-effective solution.

When asked about the condition of their refurbished computers, 73 percent of survey respondents said their equipment was sold as "tested-working," without any operating system (OS) installed (sanitized hard drive). This likely means that the majority of refurbished computers are channeled into corporate IT departments, which would be responsible for installing their own OS on the machines – using a software license purchased by the receiving company.

 

In terms of hardware, refurbishers had some interesting data on persistent product defects. Approximately 70 percent of refurbishers reported persistent issues with the power supplies on HP units, with Dell and Apple units also having intermittent problems. Also seeming to validate earlier claims related to defects in the manufacturing of its Optiplex line of desktops, 89 percent of refurbishers reported problems with bad capacitors on Dell-branded units. A persistent minority of refurbishers further reported problems with Apple displays, power supplies and Macbook batteries, many of which were determined to be unrepairable, due to Apple's use of proprietary and/or difficult-to-procure replacement parts.

 

The complete results will be published and distributed in the September issue of the quarterly E-Scrap News magazine, and will also provide data on certification and auditing, operational challenges, year-over-year processing data, and much more. To subscribe, click here.

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