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Open2Europe accompanied the French startup Back Market to the show in Barcelona.

Every year at the end of February journalists from all over Europe flock to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to discover the latest innovations in the mobile sector. And every year, new trends are identified that are supposed to “revolutionize” the consumer experience or even transform our digital society as a whole. This time, the focus was on 5G, foldable devices and smartphones that you wear on your wrist like a watch. But are these trends really so game-changing?

According to one of our clients, the French startup Back Market, the game-changing factor does not lie in the optimization of already existing devices, as manufacturers want to make us believe. The three founders of Back Market, Thibaud Hug de Larauze, Quentin Le Brouster and Vianney Vaute, have the profound conviction that consumers are not primarily interested in the latest innovations, but rather in the best price-performance ratio of devices that have been on the market for some time, but whose specs are not yet outdated.

The Back Market founder team: Quentin Le Brouster (CTO), Thibaud Hug de Larauze (CEO), Vianney Vaute (CMO)

The Back Market founder team: Quentin Le Brouster (CTO), Thibaud Hug de Larauze (CEO), Vianney Vaute (CMO)

Therefore, while all the journalists were chasing down the latest trends at MWC, Back Market was heading in the opposite direction. At shows like that, the company is interested in predecessor models and their reconditioning in order to sell them on the Back Market online platform. Unlike used smartphones, refurbished smartphones are as good as new, thanks to a comprehensive general overhaul, and are sold under warranty.

And do you know what? This business concept is going really well and corresponds to a worldwide trend that is becoming increasingly apparent!

As can be seen on Google Trend, the term « refurbished » has been in increasing demand for the last five years. For example, more people were looking for a « refurbished Samsung » than for the « Samsung Keynote » on February 20. And the S9 and S8 models are googled just as often as the upcoming Samsung S10.

As most of our electronic devices are not recycled – not even in Europe – and are instead laying in a digital no man’s land causing horrific pollution, this positive trend is not only great news for our client, but also for the environment. And that is a real game changer for our planet!