Is the Used Computer Market Going Away?

“Has your company considered purchasing refurbished PC’s, but are tempted by the falling prices of newer IT equipment?”

You may wonder just why you should consider buying refurbished instead of a shiny new model. SITR’s “IT Revive” program want to highlight a few facts on the used, or “refurbished,” marketplace as well as some of the trends that address the viability of the refurbished computer market.

The IT Revive Program has for a long time been fervent advocates for refurbished PCs. They’re low-cost; they work well for most purposes; and there’s a compelling environmental case for electronics reuse. Three to five year-old computers are fast, powerful and adaptable enough to meet the needs of organisations and individuals who need them. It is roughly 25 times more environmentally beneficial to extend the life of used; three-to-five year-old computers than it is to end-of-life recycle them at that age.

Obviously, not every computer can be salvaged, and your organisation shouldn’t accept just any used computer for the sake of environmental responsibility. Yet, for many purposes, refurbished equipment presents organisations such as libraries and low-income families with a lower-cost alternative to new equipment; one that will do nearly everything that a new computer can do.

As the price of new computers continues to fall, will they at some point be just as or more affordable than used equipment? While it is true that the price of new computers has decreased over the years, refurbished equipment remains a more affordable option. IT Revives Refurbished Computer Initiative, for example, has been tracking the price of refurbished computers for the past few years. During this time, we have found that the price of three-year-old computer has fluctuated between one-half to one-third of that of new computer. In most cases, our machines are more than a third of the price of new models, and perform the essential functions that are required, including the need of web browsing, email, office applications, social networking and accounting.


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