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Wireless Media

Circular Economy Impact on Mobile Devices

Report Summary:

The 'circular economy' paradigm is taking hold in the mobile phone sector as a solution to the increasing use of finite resources and the growing problem of e-waste. The report looks at the extent to which circular business models are being adopted in the mobile phone and service industry and identifies how this adoption can be accelerated to extend the active lifetimes of phones and their components. The focus of this report is mostly mobile phones – a key product in the Consumer (B2C) and Business (B2B) electronics sector with a varied price range and lifetime. Mobile phones have been selected due to their ubiquity in today’s society and their associated environmental impacts.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary 4
What is Circular Economy? 4
Mobile Devices as Part of the Circular Economy 11
3.1 Putting Mobile Devices in Context 11
3.1.1 The B2B Market 12
3.2 The Landfill Problem 15
3.3 Device Lifecycle 18
3.4 The Secondary Mobile Phone Market 24
3.4.1 B2C and B2B Refurbished Handset Market Forecast 25
3.4.2 B2B Refurbished Mobile Phones Channel 27
3.5 Circular Economy Requires Cross-Stakeholder Cooperation 28
Digitalisation as an Enabler of Circular Economy 31
Going Beyond Recycling 33
Conclusions 36
Analyst Contacts 38
7.1 Other Contacts: 38

Table of Exhibits
Figure 1: The Linear Economy Supply Chain 5
Figure 2: The Circular Economy 6
Figure 3: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 8
Figure 4: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 9
Figure 5: Annual Global Smart Device Shipments By Type (2017-2022) 12
Figure 6: Global B2B & B2C Smartphone Installed Base 2012-2027 13
Figure 7: Apple iPhone Board Shot 15
Figure 8: Material Composition of a Mobile Phone 16
Figure 9: Impact on consumer smartphone lifespan on e-waste 18
Figure 10: Impact on business use smartphone lifespan on e-waste 19
Figure 11: UK and US Current Smartphone Ownership Length 20
Figure 12: Global Smartphone Replacement Cycle (Months) 21
Figure 13: B2B Smartphone Replacement Cycle (Months) 22
Figure 14: Replacement Rate – Smartphones by Country 23
Figure 15: Replacement Rate - Smartphones by Vertical 23
Figure 16: Key Circular Economy Initiatives Taken by OEMs & Mobile Operators 29
Figure 17: Mobile Phone Value Chain in a Circular Economy 34
Figure 18: Going Beyond Recycling 35

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