NEW YORK – Electronic and electrical equipment sales were down 30% in low- and middle-income countries in the first three quarters of last year as a result of Covid-19, according to a new UN report. In high-income countries, sales were down 5% in the same period.
Global sales of electric appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and ovens dropped 6 to 8%, while small IT and telecommunications equipment decreased 1.4%. Laptop, cellphone and gaming equipment sales increased in high-income countries and globally but dropped in low- and middle-income countries.
UN e-waste researchers expect an overall 4.9 million metric tonne decrease in future 2020 sales-related e-waste, down nearly 6.4% compared to the pre-pandemic “usual” amount.
Worldwide, all major categories of electronic and electrical equipment, including screens and monitors, large equipment, temperature exchange equipment, small equipment, and lamps, decreased 6 to 8%.
By weight, the largest decrease in consumption was in the large equipment category, down by 1.7 metric tonnes, followed by small equipment.
The first and second quarters saw the strongest effects, with consumption rebounding in the third quarter in high-income countries but not in low and middle-income countries.
From 2018 through the third quarter of 2019, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Maldives, India and Pakistan showed a fluctuating but upward trend in consumption. From the fourth quarter of 2019 through the first two quarters of 2020, consumption fell, while the third quarter of 2020 saw an increase in those regions.