E-repair market could be worth $20 bn

NEW DELHI : India needs to formalize the domestic market for third-party repair and refurbishment of electronic items to capture a $20 billion business opportunity amid rising demand for refurbished gadgets, according to industry stakeholders.

Ajai Chowdhry, founder of tech services firm HCL and chairman of the Electronic Products Innovation Consortium (EPIC) Foundation, said there is a growing market for electronics refurbishing and repair services. “Just the refurbishment market for smartphones is estimated to be worth $10 billion per year,” he said, adding that put together, the electronics repair market could account for $20 billion.

Chowdhry added that initial steps are being taken to formalize the repair industry, which includes moves such as Flipkart’s acquisition of refurbishing and repair services startup, Yantra, in January this year. While the examples are still limited, services such as Onsite-Go and Urban Company have started offering at-home repair services for smartphones, laptops and other common gadgets. Onsite-Go, in fact, also offers annual maintenance contracts (AMCs) to service and repair consumer gadgets.

Industry body Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (Mait) presented on 7 September the benefits of these services to IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Nitin Kunkolienker, president emeritus of Mait, said that for such services to grow, incentivizing local manufacturing of components could be critical.

“One of the key aspects of promoting a homegrown repair services economy is to ensure that the components are being sourced locally, which has not happened extensively so far. India has a robust supply chain that caters to various industries, which can diversify to procure and manufacture components that are critical for a local repair economy to grow,” Kunkolienker said.

Meanwhile, Nitin Gupta, chief executive of electronic waste recycling firm Attero India, said the company has seen a clear growth in the volume of e-waste that it collects and recycles every year though the benefits of these actions have not trickled down to companies in India so far.

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