The refurbished smartphones of Romanian startup fenix.eco are now on sale in Auchan Titan and Auchan Drumul Taberei, Bucharest, as part of a pilot project. Over 10 refurbished Apple and Samsung models are on display in a dedicated stand in the hypermarket’s IT & Electronics department. Depending on the results of the pilot project, distribution may be extended to other Auchan stores across Romania later this year.
Launched in April 2020, fenix.eco started operating as an online store that boasts over 20 models of refurbished smartphones, costing up to 50% less than new. Besides the refurbished handset itself, fenix.eco phones come with new accessories, as well as a 12-month guarantee. The company sells four brands of smartphone (Apple, Samsung, Sony and Huawei). iPhones account for more than 80% of sales, with the iPhone 8 the company’s bestseller.
“We entered the Romanian smartphone market seven months ago, bringing refurbished phones with many of the advantages of new models. With the combined sales of our online store www.fenix.eco and physical distribution through Auchan, our sales are increasing fast,” said serial entrepreneur and business angel Grégoire Vigroux.
Ionuț Ardeleanu, CEO of Auchan Romania, added: “We are glad to start this collaboration with fenix.eco, a startup which, through its business model, aligns with our mission to reduce our environmental footprint by extending product usage time. We are subsequently introducing into our range an innovative solution for large trade industry – refurbished phones, with warranty, at excellent prices. We are beginning this pilot project in Auchan Titan and Drumul Taberei and we hope that it will be popular with our customers, so that we can roll it out to other Auchan stores.”
At the European level, refurbished smartphones are becoming an increasingly popular choice, especially in Western countries, where consumers can already buy such devices both online and in physical stores. In France and Germany, they made up more than 10% of the market in 2019. According to IDC, the global market of refurbished mobile phones was estimated at nearly 207 million units in 2019, a rise of 17.6% versus 2018. IDC projects that refurbished mobiles will reach 333 million units globally in 2023, marking an annual growth rate of 13.6%.
Vigroux concluded: “At a time when most retailers are expanding online, fenix.eco is doing the exact opposite. We are an online store expanding into traditional retail. I believe this is the right move for our startup, given the nature of our products. Refurbished smartphones are still a new concept in Romania. We need to give our consumers direct experience of it and earn their trust by letting them see our products. For this reason, it makes sense to sell to our customers face-to-face as well as online.”