Planned obsolescence is now a popular notion among consumers. And a growing fringe is now ready to buy reconditioned, repaired, upcycled rather than new. So much so that the job of repairer is under tension!
Change phone at the slightest breakdown, it’s over. The French now want to repair. The reconditioning of multimedia devices represents an important part of the repair market. Save, Wefix by Fnac, Backmarket or even Hexamobile, a plethora of players share this market. According to a barometer carried out by Recommerce, 30% of French people bought a reconditioned product in 2021. Benoît Varin, president of the federation of reuse players and founder of Recommerce is delighted. “Recommerce is more than 25% growth and we are in the process of crossing 85 million euros in turnover over the year. ”
Founded in Romans sur Isère, Hubside is a brand selling new and reconditioned multimedia products. In this market dominated by e-commerce, the company has chosen physical stores after the success of a pilot store launched in Isère in 2019. And continues its development in franchises – count around 150,000 euros minimum contribution . “We are developing our network by opening between 8 and 10 stores each month with the objective of 100 franchised outlets in France by the end of 2021”, says Sadri Fegaier, president of Hubside Store and best known for having founded the insurer Sfam in 1999. The company has its own repair center in Drôme where 70 technicians test and repair products deposited in the store by customers. “We do as many trade-ins as we sell refurbished products, it’s a circular activity. We do not import, all our phones are French and guaranteed for 24 months ”, welcomes Sadri Fegaier. The company aims for 100 million turnover.
Repair rather than throw away
Since January 1, 2021, a repairability index must be mentioned on electrical and electronic devices. Consumers pay attention to it and the possibility of self-repairing becomes a selling point for brands. For Benoît Varin, president of the federation of reuse actors: “The recent anti-waste law helps boost the repair economy by providing access to spare parts in particular”.
Favored by this legislative environment, many companies have entered this niche to extend the life of existing products. Some in tutorials, others in the sale of spare parts, sometimes both … such as SOSav, for example, founded in 2013 by Mikael Thomas and Sébastien Cornec on the model of the American Ifixit, or even SOS Accessoire which has just announced fundraising of 10 million euros.
Others adopt the model of the platform for connecting repairers and individuals, like Murfy, which raised 8 million euros at the end of 2020.
SPAREKA, tutorials and spare parts
Geoffroy Malterre founded Spareka in 2012. The company offers diagnostics and tutorials to help consumers repair their household appliances. “People want to save money and reduce the amount of waste, it is part of the customs to repair”, says the entrepreneur. As proof, Spareka helps nearly two million people repair their devices every month. The company’s YouTube channel has 150,000 subscribers. But it is from the sale of spare parts that Spareka generates most of its turnover of 12 million euros in 2020. Spareka is growing between 25 and 40% each year. The health crisis was a booster, says Geoffroy Malterre. “With the confinements, people did not have the possibility of bringing in a technician and they had the time to repair themselves. “
New out of old
The repair market is conquering new territories. “There are between two and three new members per week who join the federation of reuse actors, it has been quite exponential for a few months”, welcomes Benoît Varin. The federation now has more than 100 members representing 2 billion euros in turnover and 40,000 jobs.
Jewelry designer Elsa Robichez opened La Retoucherie – Les eyes d’Elsa, a service of costume jewelry repair to meet the desires of its customers. Transform a lonely earring into a pendant, repair a chain, “People did not know where to turn, there is no competition for the service I offer on low-cost jewelry”, remarks Elsa Robichez.
Upcycling is also the niche for retrofit start-ups. For Lormauto, Noil or even Transition-One, the goal is to transform thermal vehicles into 100% electric models. The interest of the general public and professionals is growing. The Aire (Association Actors in the Electric Retrofit Industry) estimates that the retrofit could make it possible to transform 65,000 vehicles in France by 2025 and the creation, or preservation, of 5,500 direct and indirect jobs.
THE DUTCH BIKE, the refurbished bicycle
Simon Vandenadeele and Jules Lefebvre started while they were still students in the upcycling of bicycles imported from Holland. The idea of the project: to bring old broken bikes back to life. “We collected six bikes in the Netherlands, prepared them and sold them very quickly on social networks”, assures Simon Vandenadeele. After this first attempt, demand explodes. They leave the family garage for a small room. With 1,000 euros as an initial investment and 8,300 euros collected through a crowdfunding campaign, they have just opened a 150 m2 store in Lille. “We have to go once a week to Holland to bring 15 to 20 bikes”, rejoices Simon Vandenadeele. With nearly 200 bicycles sold since October 2020, everything is rolling for Simon Vandenadeele and Jules Lefebvre. “We are not yet paying each other a salary, but our cash flow would allow it. “