Reflecting on 2023 and looking forward to 2024

Reflecting on 2023 and looking forward to 2024

By Andreas Mayer CEO of Flex IT
19 March 2024

Last summer, I analysed the developments in the IT market in a blog. It was clear that the market was in a relatively tough period, but at the same time, there were enough positive signals, including within Flex IT, that made me look to the future with confidence. Looking back on 2023, my confidence has only increased, supported by the progress in the IT sector, breakthroughs in European sustainability legislation, and the numerous developments at Flex IT itself.

Market analyses and reports had already predicted growth for the global market of refurbished computers and laptops in the coming years. At Flex IT, we are gradually starting to see these predictions become reality. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but the signs of recovery are visible. This is also evidenced by the success of our circular product line, HP Approved Selection, for which we recently announced the launch in the Nordics. This stems from the increasing demand for sustainable IT solutions in Europe, a trend that we also strongly observe in the Netherlands.

The year 2023 also brought positive developments in the area of European legislation. Since last year, Flex IT has officially been a member of EUREFAS, the European Refurbishment Association, which is committed to safeguarding and defining quality standards and promoting the circular economy. Notably, legislation approved by the European Commission for improved repairability of smartphones and tablets in the design phase, the warranty on the availability of spare parts (7 years) and repair manuals, and the requirement that manufacturers guarantee the removability of batteries. In addition, there are several initiatives under development that are promising and for which EUREFAS is strongly advocating, such as the introduction of a product passport, prioritizing reuse over recycling, a clear definition and framework for refurbishment, and opening up the repair market to independent repairers.

A series of developments

In 2023 and continuing into 2024, Flex IT itself also underwent a series of developments. A highlight is the launch of our new webshop, flexitcircular.com. This e-commerce platform not only gives customers access to an extensive range of circular IT products and services but also offers detailed sustainability information for a select group of these products—a group that we are continuously expanding. Here, customers can gain insight at the product level into the CO2 reduction that the purchase of a circular IT device yields, compared to new IT products. Thanks to our collaboration with Ecochain, it is possible to present these sustainability data, which gives us a unique position in Europe that we continuously keep developing and optimizing.

Our Rent and ITAD businesses are also making significant progress. With these two branches, we offer solutions that cover the entire circular IT cycle. Through our rental division, we are active across Europe to further expand our leadership position in IT rental solutions. In addition, we are significantly expanding our ITAD business by offering customers and businesses an efficient and financially advantageous way to give their IT hardware a second life. The newly developed Buyback & Trade-In Initiative, a collaboration between HP and Flex IT, is a good example of this. This initiative provides a sustainable solution that extends the lifecycle of hardware by recognizing the residual value of old devices. Customers can trade these in for credits or discounts on new HP products, which offers financial benefits, contributes to the reduction of e-waste, and provides the opportunity for hardware upgrades.

Furthermore, Apple Certified Refurbished has gained a more prominent role within Flex IT. These refurbished products meet very high quality standards and form a valuable addition to our circular offering. Together with the expansion of the HP Approved Selection to other European countries, our efforts in the Rent and ITAD areas, and the launch of our new webshop, Flex IT is taking significant steps forward in realizing our ambition to lead the transition to a circular IT hardware market in Europe.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2024, I expect many developments that will contribute to strengthening our position as a leader and expanding our expertise in the European market. I look to the future with confidence and notice that Flex IT is increasingly seen as an important voice within the industry. During conferences, trade fairs, and other events, Flex IT is regularly asked to contribute our knowledge and presentations. Despite the challenges and the considerable work that still needs to be done, all these developments give me confidence that Flex IT is on the right track and that 2024 will be a successful year for us.

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