Skip to content
Nancy Ampaw19/05/23 10:494 min read

How is Gen Z leading sustainability in the device market?

Digitally oriented and expressive of change, Generation Z believes in eco-friendly consumption.

They've moved beyond adolescent discourses and now advocate for sustainability and change-driven decisions. Investing in brands that convey a message in line with their buyer identity is a priority

Profiling Gen Z  

Generation Z, known as 'Gen Z' or 'Zoomers', are the most tech-savvy age group representing anybody born between 1997 and 2012. With an 88% social media presence they comprise 40% of the global consumer market.  

Gen Z has become a household name for avid smartphone users. With the highest purchasing power of all segments, it's clear how such a young population grabbed hold of the second-hand device market.  

Understanding Gen Z's consumer profile begins with dissecting their digital age. Known as 'digital natives', this group were born during a technological revolution. They've sought independence, immediacy and freedom beyond social justice movements and aren't afraid to voice their opinion. With growing access to global political events readily available on their smartphones, Gen Z is looking for environmentally and ethically conscious organisations.  


A Sustainable Agenda  

An era of 'sustainable consumption' is unfolding with more online businesses like Deepop, Vinted and Facebook Marketplace on the rise. Paradoxical? Maybe. 'Sustainable consumption' has gained attraction as the closest measure of global environmental change to Generation Z. It has become an outlet for keeping up with the latest trends while retaining buying power without harming the eco-system, at least not entirely.   

Gen Z is on the horizon to become a breakthrough in retail sectors by 2026. Winning the business of this age group comes on a first-come, first-serve basis. A tailored stream of marketing and advertisement has erupted in the tech world gaining buy-in from these growing consumers.  

TikTok videos showcasing the benefits of purchasing second-hand mobile phones and facts about e-waste reduction in business are reaching well over a thousand views. Refurbished phone retailers like Giffgaff and BackMarket use social media to increase visibility and profit.  

Likewise, eBay has gone for a Gen Z-friendly Tik Tok bio; 'Tik to your Tok and E to your bay'. Their marketing strategy on Tik Tok is fashion-related user generate content (UGC) that promotes second-hand clothing sales and high-end discounted designer items. With few videos on refurbished tech, eBay's approach is centralising all content towards the 18–25-year-old market.  


The Extent of an Influence  

The vocality of Gen Z's consumer preferences, beliefs and desires have often threatened brand survival. 'Cancel culture' – defined as promoting the 'cancelling' of people, products, television shows and films has been nicknamed a toxic trend. Popular within Gen Z talking points, this 'cancelling' of societal areas extends far beyond creativity and the arts. What it means to be a leading voice in an industry has its rewards. 

Stereotyped as a generation of 'hyper-sensitivity' and 'collective hysteria', how do marketers and brands leverage to enhance digital experiences? Selling to Generation Z is about creating a user experience whereby brands take customers on a journey using a product, application, system or service. Sitecore and Halls & Partners' report highlight that 71% look for personalised experiences, backed by 53% preferring optimised mobile websites and web apps. Further, 69% prioritise protecting the environment or building a sustainable future which translates into spending habits.  


Buying and Re-selling tech   

Inflation, fluctuating job markets and a forecasted bleak financial future have sent many young people to the pre-owned device market. Typically, the latest trends come at a high cost, and technology is top of the list. A decrease in mobile phone contracts since Covid-19 meant buying smartphones outright became highly sought after. For retailers and consumers, buying cheap with the return on acquiring the latest tech is a win-for-all.  

Over the last five years, social media has been remodelled into an e-commerce platform. It is ranked the most successful outlet for buying and re-selling second-hand tech. With an increase in recorded online competitive pricing, Gen Z is looking for an outlet they can use to keep sight of trends.  

Facebook Marketplace is an at-your-fingertips platform that ticks all the right boxes. It is an easy set-up for beginners in online selling, minimising shipping fees and other complexities. Independence in price negotiations and flexibility around bargaining has evoked a once-dormant flair for entrepreneurship.  

Driven by a strong desire to express the need for environmental change, reducing e-waste, CSR and sustainability, Generation Z has become a leading voice in second-hand device market sales.  

The loosening of electronic policies has also resulted in a surge of appeal in buying and re-selling online digital items. In support of ecological consideration and social media accessibility, Gen Z is revolutionising device lifecycle stages and bridging the gap between B2B and B2C.  


Blackbelt's Data Erasure and Device Analytics Software 

Our customisable software helps smartphone and desktop PC recycling businesses to streamline and grow. With over 25 million devices processed annually, our diverse product range is 100% GDPR-compliant and seamlessly integrates with Retail, Warehouse and Consumer Aftercare services. 

For more information visit our website now. 

Unlock the potential of your business's smartphone recycling efforts. Gain valuable insights from our comprehensive white paper, offering proven grading strategies for maximum efficiency. Download now and elevate your recycling ROI.

New call-to-action

Nancy Ampaw

Nancy Ampaw began her career with Blackbelt Smartphone Defence, gaining unparalleled experience in marketing and content writing while establishing herself as a respected international marketing executive. She is widely known for her blogging, marketing strategy, project management, and result-driven work.