Do you have an old smartphone sitting in a drawer? It’s one in a pile worth $7.8 billion

Five kids sitting on a couch using smartphones and other devices

There are currently more mobile phone connections (close to 33 million) than there are people in Australia, according to the consumer data researchers at Statista. 

Unless you can text simultaneously in each hand, this means there are heaps of powered-down phones just taking up space.

Rather than let your old smartphone sit in the odds-and-ends drawer and become less relevant by the day, you could think about selling it.

EBay estimates there is $7.8 billion in unused smartphones languishing in Australian households. The digital marketplace juggernaut says potential sellers could make up to $386 more by selling well-preserved devices via its platform instead of trading in after an upgrade.   

And it looks like plenty of Aussies are jumping on board, with 76,626 secondhand smartphone sales recorded on eBay since the beginning of 2020 – that’s around 11 handsets changing hands every hour.

Gumtree’s Second Hand Economy Report
also shows there are big bucks to be made through more sustainable selling. It calculates the pre-loved economy is worth $42 billion in 2020, which is a $3 billion increase on the nine previous years analysed by Gumtree. 

Staying connected sustainably

Whether you’re an Apple fan or on team Android, it can be difficult to invest sustainably in technology. While an antique lounge is built to stand the test of time (and style), mobiles see constant upgrades and reinventions, and some components like batteries are intentionally built to degrade over time.

So, if you’ve well-and-truly busted up your old device and reselling isn’t an option, make sure you recycle it properly. 

Longstanding government e-waste recycling initiative MobileMuster collected more than 84 tonnes of mobile phone components in 2019 alone. At least 95% of these old parts are transformed into valuable materials.

Another important ‘r’ to remember is ‘reuse’. MobileMuster’s 2019 report showed people repairing mobile devices (33%) and buying pre-loved (21%) are both on the up, especially in younger demographics.

If you’ve saved big on a bunch on a savvy tech purchase or sales, think about squirreling the cash away in one of the savings accounts below for future sustainable shopping sprees.

Compare savings accounts - last updated 13 April 2024

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