Vodafone - Earth Day

Demand for refurbished smartphones grows: one in three have bought and two-thirds of consumers would consider purchasing

01 May 2024


  • Purchasing a refurbished smartphone can save around 50 Kg CO2e
  • Irish consumers are the most willing in Europe to buy a refurbished smartphone (64% v 52%)
  • Vodafone customers have returned more than 27,000 devices for repurposing or recycling

22nd April 2024 - Irish consumers are more willing than ever to consider purchasing a refurbished smartphone, according to the 6th edition of the Recommerce© Barometer in partnership with Vodafone[1]. In 2022, Vodafone Ireland became the first telecommunications company in Ireland to introduce trade-in, which offers customers incentives to trade-in their smartphone devices. In addition to this, Vodafone provides device repair and, since 2020, has been offering a diverse range of refurbished devices.

In 2023, the worldwide market for second-hand smartphones expanded to 309 million units and is expected to grow by 40% to 430 million units by 2027[2]. More than one in three consumers in Ireland have purchased a refurbished device at least once, and more than two-thirds would consider buying one. With refurbished devices in Europe set to account for 27 million devices sold in 2024, more than 52% of Europeans declared they are willing to buy a refurbished smartphone in the future, with consumers in Ireland being the most probable market at 64%.

Irish consumers cited affordability (68%) as their primary reason for choosing a refurbished device with environmental reasons the second biggest driver (36%), suggesting Irish consumer appreciation for the benefits of refurbished devices compared to buying new.

Purchasing a refurbished smartphone saves around 50 Kg CO2e – using one-fifth the carbon emissions of the equivalent newly manufactured smartphone – and removes the need to extract 164 Kg of raw materials.[3]

Other reasons included warranty assurance (29%), suggesting growing confidence in purchasing refurbished devices through trusted brands, buying higher end-model (26%) and benefit from after-sale service (12%).

Vodafone Ireland now offers high-quality refurbished handsets with a 12-month warranty. Customers have the option to buy refurbished iPhone models such as the iPhone 11, iPhone 8, iPhone XR, iPhone 12, or iPhone SE, on a variety of plans, both in-store and online. Every refurbished smartphone sold by Vodafone has received a meticulous professional screening, cleaning, and thorough testing to ensure they function at the same level as new devices. Each phone is also securely data wiped.

In addition to cost savings and flexibility, Vodafone’s refurbished range alongside its device trade-in platform supports the company’s commitment to promoting a circular economy for devices.

Amanda Nelson, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, said: “It’s really encouraging to see the level of interest in refurbished devices here in Ireland being so much higher than the European average.  Clearly this is based on consumers’ positive experiences, increasing environmental awareness as well as the value for money benefits. With our trade in, customers can receive up to €400 credit on their used smartphones and reduce emissions – a win win.”

Trading in smartphones: a growing trend among Irish consumers

Although some Irish consumers indicated they would continue to keep their old smartphones in case of need (23%), a growing number of Irish consumers (35%) expressed interest in trading in or selling their current mobile for subsequent refurbishment and resale, compared to 23% for their previous handset, showing a growing habit across Ireland.

Vodafone was the first telecoms company in Ireland to launch a device trade-in service, in 2022. This has been very well received by customers, with over 27,000 devices physically returned to Vodafone so far. To encourage customers to make greener choices Vodafone’s Trade In initiative allows Vodafone customers to trade in their old smartphones for up to 400 Euro where they then recycle and repurpose them [4]


The above findings were unveiled in the sixth edition of the Recommerce© Barometer, an annual analysis of consumer trends towards refurbished smartphones at retail published by European device refurbishment leader Recommerce©, in partnership with Vodafone. Conducted by KANTAR, the study tracked sentiment across EU consumers spanning twelve major European countries[1], including for the first time Ireland, and Portugal.

[1] 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.

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

[3] 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

[4] Vodafone customers can receive up to €400 for trading in their smartphone online or in-store (Value is subject to trading in an eligible smartphone, the average trade-in value for smartphones that have met the trade-in criteria is €230). Terms Apply.

To avail of Trade-in, an eligible smartphone must power on and be free from cracks, dents and chips for further details see our T&C's 



Close message
    5GCreated with Sketch. add-icon add-ons-boosts-midalways-connected icon-app-storeauto-top-up basket-changebill-or-report-midbill-pay-phones-icon4C91DB73-75FE-4565-8F69-BC6C675B1EA1bintoaster-black block-system blockbonusbroadband-darkbroadband-iconbroadband-lightbroadband-new broadband-or-wifi 1 broadband-or-wifi-midbroadband bundles-midbusinessCalendarCreated with Sketch. calendarIcons+Indicators / System-Icons / landline_or_call / #333333Created with Sketch. callCallsCreated with Sketch. cameracarer-system case-study-midcaseschart-line-midchat-midchevron-down-system chevron-downchevron-left chevron-rightchevron-up-system chevron-upchromecast clock-new clock-or-timedclock close-smallclosecollectionscomment-midcommunity-or-foundation-midcommunitycompleted-midconnected-devices-midconsultant contractconverged-proposition-midDataCreated with Sketch. Icons+Indicators / System-Icons / data / #333333Created with Sketch. data-middatadeals-middelete-bin delete-icondelivery deliveryNew device dislike document-middownload-bicolor Downloadedit-icon editengineer-miderror-circle-system-red error-circle-system error-circleeSim data eyefacebookfilters fixed-line-midgame-console generic-tariff-plan-midGift Icon Gift gogreen-tick help-midhidden-password home-midhome-phone info-circle-grey info-circle international-system landline-or-call-midletterslike lock-sslmail-new-midmenumessageminutes-sms-midmobilemobile-midmobile-vtv mobilemy-vodafone-or-my-profile-midmy-vodafoneneed-help-midnetwork-signal-midnotification-new object-type-default onenumberorderspayg-midpayg-phones-iconF86C85F6-FFFF-4C62-8F9A-45D7251FC836payment-midphone-mini-icon photosplaceholderplay-circle play-storeplayplus-new plusportals-for-videos reloadreportreturn-product-midroaming-midroamingsearch-system searchsecurity-midsettings-bicolor settings-midroaming shopping-trolley-midshoppingsign-up-icon Sim card sim-midsim-swap-midsimIcons+Indicators / System-Icons / sms / #333333Created with Sketch. sms-or-text-midsms-text-mid spinnersquaresssl-lock step-1 step-2 step-3 super-wifi-selected super-wifi-un-selected superwifi sync tablet technologysquares theft-system three-points Tick-icontick-simpletick-outline-system tick-outline tick-simpletick-thankyou-pageinfo-circle top-up-2021top-up-icontop-up-midtopup travellers-info-midroaming tv-midtv-new tv-vtv block twitterup-arrow upgrade-midv-sim-and-device valuevf-tv-iconvisible-password vodafone-business-inverse vodafonevodafone-store-midvodafone-tv vodafone voice-of-vodafone-alerts-midVTV warning-midwarning-orange warning-red warning-system watch-tick watch-with-tick watch web-protection-red