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Used IT equipment: Millennials push enterprises into the circular economy

The Millennial generation is becoming a driving force behind the circular economy of used IT equipment.

IT shops have typically bought used gear if they needed to replace old equipment and couldn’t get parts from the vendor. But the idea of buying a low-mileage server with one or two years of use wasn’t very popular. Companies typically bought new.

But that’s changing. IT shops of all sizes are increasingly buying used gear, both brand name and white box brands from China, according to IDC. The research firm puts the CAGR at 5% and estimates sales of used IT infrastructure gear will reach $36 billion by 2024. The deals are being done through the major OEMs as well as resellers like ITRenew, which buys servers from hyperscalers, refreshes them, certifies they are functioning, and resells them.

Susan Middleton, research director for flexible consumption and financing strategies for IT at IDC, says the concept of recycling – whether it’s a company selling its old gear for reuse or buying used – plays well with companies’ sustainability goals.

“We see it growing because of the fact it’s really about climate change,” Middleton tells me. “There is a lot happening because of awareness of the issue. It’s better to buy something and reuse it than buy something and dispose of it.”

Prior to the pandemic and economic downturn, IDC witnessed a renewed interest in the used market to meet sustainability pledges and other initiatives. At the same time, interest in recycling IT equipment has increased to help meet promised goals.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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