Remanufacturing Industry Facts and Figure

An unappreciated but significant sector of the economy

Remanufacturing is a largely unappreciated industrial sector which contributes greatly to the national GDPs of even the most developed countries in the world. But things can be even better if consumers regard remanufactured goods the same as brand new products and manufacturing companies design products with remanufacturing in mind.

Here are some key facts and figures that will help you understand the importance of remanufacturing industries in different parts of the world:

The United States

Between 2009 and 2011, the United States of America was the largest remanufacturer in the world with 15 percent growth in the value of total U.S. remanufactured products.

The total value of remanufactured products in that period was at least $43 billion. In the same period, the U.S. remanufacturing industry supported around 180,000 full-time jobs of which 22,000 was contributed by the foreign direct investment in U.S. remanufacturing industry.

In 2009, the value of total U.S. remanufactured products was $37.3 billion.

The United States is also the largest consumer and exporter of remanufactured products. In 2011, the total U.S. exports of remanufactured products in 2011 totaled $11.7 billion and around 40 percent of that amount went to free trade agreement partners such as Canada, Mexico and European Union (EU).

Some of the most remanufacturing intensive sectors in the U.S. include consumer products, aerospace, motor vehicle parts, medical devices, machinery, locomotives, information technology products, heavy-duty and off-road equipment, electrical apparatus, retreaded tires, restaurant equipment, and office furniture.

In 2001, only motor vehicle parts, HDOR equipment, and aerospace products accounted for 63 percent of total U.S. remanufactured products.

Between 2009 and 2011, remanufactured products accounted for around 2 percent of sales of all products (both new and remanufactured products) in the U.S.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) had a great contribution to the total U.S. remanufacturing and trade in 2011 as they accounted for $11.1 billion worth of remanufactured products which is 25 percent of total production of remanufactured products.

SMEs also accounted for 17 percent ($1.8 billion) of U.S. exports of remanufactured goods.

One-sixth of the total U.S. trade in remanufactured products and cores in 2011 was contributed by the foreign remanufacturers that have invested in the U.S. remanufacturing industry.  

U.S. is a significant importer of remanufactured goods as well. From 2009 to 2011, the U.S. imports of remanufactured goods have increased to $10.3 billion from $6.3 billion. And Mexico is the largest supplier of remanufactured goods to U.S. supplying around 30 percent ($3.1 billion) of the total imports.

Remanufacturing in Other Countries

According to estimates, the value of the UK remanufacturing industry was £2.4 billion in 2010 with the potential to get to £5.6 billion. The UK remanufacturing industry contributes around £5 billion ($7.8 billion/€5.9 billion) per annum to the UK economy. The industry has saved 270,000 tons of raw materials and created more than 500,000 jobs nationally annually.

Unfortunately remanufacturing statistics for many major manufacturing countries such as China, Brazil and India are not readily available. Again, repair activates are very common in diverse industries in these countries and remanufacturing is a relatively new development in many parts of the world.

For these reasons, the total yearly values of remanufactured products in these are likely to be small.

But countries around the world have started to understand the significance of establishing strong remanufacturing industry in order to have a sustainable and truly circular economy.

Final Note: There are a number of significant barriers facing the remanufacturing industry which needs to be overcome in order to boost the impact of remanufacturing.