Laptops, PCs and Tablets have often been regarded as disposable items due to their relative low cost and the perceived difficulties regarding the identification of faults, the sourcing of appropriate spare parts and the reliability of repaired equipment. Thankfully, this throw away culture is changing and this change is powering a demand for supplies of spare parts and providing new opportunities for companies in the IT Repair Industry to provide the required repair services.
The Economic climate
In a climate typified by forecasts of low growth, rising inflation, and declining exchange rates, the economic outlook for the United Kingdom is not overly encouraging, with a year-long recession for the whole of 2023 likely. Only a glimmer of hope of a slight recovery in 2024 lies over the horizon. While many companies will struggle to survive in such an arid financial climate, the adverse conditions will allow some sectors of the market the perfect conditions for renewed growth.
With such uncertain times ahead, many companies will be looking to save money where ever they can, and this may mean they will be looking for ways to repair their IT infrastructure and equipment when issues arise, rather than to renew it. In many cases, the ongoing world-wide chip shortage, combined with political concerns over trade with China and increasing demand for raw materials, buying new equipment may not even be an option on the table at the moment.
Access to information
And while the availability of new equipment may be in question, the availability of help and advice concerning troubleshooting, sourcing spare parts, and even the tools and guidance needed to carry out the repairs, has mushroomed online in recent years. Tech gurus and self-help forums have risen out of the ether to meet the challenge and even manufacturers own websites are becoming more open to sharing information regarding repairing their products.
Ongoing concern regarding the dramatic environmental consequences of uncontrolled climate change has also had a profound impact on the public conscience. Consumers are learning to accept their personal responsibility when it comes to sustainability in their everyday lives, and this awareness is having an increasingly powerful influence on their purchasing decisions.
This desire to repair items instead of replacing them has been recognized in recent “right to repair legislation” introduced by the UK government. Although smartphones and laptops are not currently included, the new law will certainly endorse the emergent ethos of repair rather than replace.
There are obvious environmental benefits to endorse the move towards repairing devices. The energy savings alone can be quite considerable, which when added to the reduced demand for raw materials, makes repairing a much more viable option for a lot of people.
And while for many years we have been encouraged to recycle rather than throw away our old electrical devices, even the recycling processes brings their own environmental impact issues. Many of our redundant devices are shipped overseas to be dismantled and have their components and precious metals extracted, and in many cases, this has led to higher levels of localised pollution which has a serious impact on both the environment and public health. So, although recycling is better than land fill, the optimum solution has to be repair and reuse.
The recent pandemic with its associated production and logistical issues has also contributed to this ongoing shift in culture from replacement to repair of IT equipment.
One IT repairs specialist, Tekeurope, commented “We have seen an uptick in demand for repairs amongst our customers which is largely down to the lack of availability of new products post COVID-19. However, they are also attracted by the cost savings offered and also the desire to lessen their environmental impact.”
So, the future outlook for the IT repair industry seems to be one of increasing growth, giving private and business users the opportunity to achieve substantial savings in time and money while helping them to make a positive and meaningful contribution to global efforts to minimise our impact on the natural world.
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