TechMarkit is a new e-commerce platform that aims to provide affordable and reliable refurbished digital devices to the mass market, while supporting sustainability by creating a thriving circular economy for consumer electronics in the country.
“The pandemic’s transformative impact on society means consumers have become more dependent on technology to navigate daily life. From remote work and learning to e-commerce and online social interactions, all South Africans require a device to participate in the burgeoning digital economy,” explains David Hirsch, founder and CEO of TechMarkit.
According to Point of Sale tracking data from GfK South Africa’s Weekly Monitor, lockdown and the pandemic accelerated device penetration across multiple computing devices among local online consumers.
The data reveals that between 2019 and 2020 smartphone penetration increased from 78% to 91%, while tablets (36% to 39%) experienced more moderate increases, but the trend persisted.
However, laptop and PC penetration rates lag. Based on Statista data, only 22.9% of web traffic in the country originated from a laptop or desktop computer as of March 2021, which suggests this market segment still has room to grow.
Amid this consumer buying trend, refurbished or reconditioned devices offer a more affordable option, while also providing consumers with the ability to buy a higher spec device compared to what they could potentially afford new.
“South Africa already has a very active second-hand market, which supports a large indirect channel where consumers purchase devices over online classifieds or social media platforms,” says Hirsch.
However, Hirsch advises caution when purchasing products in the second-hand market.
“Consumers should always shop around to benchmark and compare pricing before buying. They should also ensure the device comes with a warranty, that advertised prices include V.A.T. and confirm the condition and technical specs of the device, especially the generation of the processor.”
The TechMarkit team, which is headed by Hirsch and Sean Nelson, both former executives of South Africa’s highly successful Incredible Connection consumer electronics chain, will test, assess and evaluate laptops, used tablets, e-readers, smartphones, screens and personal computers to determine their potential for refurbishment or restoration, and perform any necessary repairs or software updates before selling them at highly competitive prices.
“Our objective is to empower the mass market in South Africa with access to affordable and reliable technology, while also helping to bridge the country’s widening digital divide, particularly among economically disadvantaged and underprivileged communities,” he continues.
The company’s thorough 45-step quality check encompasses everything from the battery, RAM and hard drive to the casing and screen provides peace of mind as consumers know everything is in working order.
Beyond the economic spinoffs, Hirsch is excited about the benefits that a thriving circular economy for refurbished consumer electronic devices will deliver in South Africa.
Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in the country, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs – e-waste already makes up 5% to 8% of municipal solid waste, with volumes growing three times faster than other waste. Furthermore, manufacturing electronic devices is also an extremely resource-intensive process.
“By creating a marketplace to sell and purchase reliable refurbished products, we create an entry point into the circular economy for South Africans, which helps to reduce resource consumption and conserve the environment,” continues Hirsch.
TechMarkit’s e-commerce platform is already live at techmarkit.co.za, offering delivery in 2-3 working days within Johannesburg and 3-4 working days for other major city centres. Delivery is free for purchases over R500.
“Visit the intuitive and easy-to-navigate website to browse one of the widest selections of refurbished devices in the country. We only sell products that are ethically purchased in South Africa, which all come with a six-month warranty,” concludes Hirsch.
Future platform developments and enhancements will allow consumers to sell or trade-in old electronic equipment for an upgrade or a new device. The company also plans to launch a physical retail store.
For more information visit www.techmarkit.co.za