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What is Driving the Increase in Electronic Product Recalls?

There has been a lot of activity on the Electrical Safety First website this year.  Even discounting the unprecedented 25 product recalls announced in January, UK recalls have been running at an average of five per month over the last four months.  This compares to a total of 36 recalls for the whole of 2020, which was itself a significant rise from 19 in 2019 (and 22 in 2018).

The pattern is repeated across Europe too.  Data from Sedgwick shows 225 consumer electronic product recalls across Europe in 2020 (up from 183 in 2019); and 62 in the first quarter of  2021.  What is going on?

Sedgwick suggest a number of possible reasons for the recent rise in recalls.  As well as the ongoing trend towards increasing complexity of smart devices, they cite three distinct issues related to Covid-19:

  •  Increasing usage of consumer electronic products during lockdowns;
  • Expedited launch of new products to respond to urgent pandemic issues; and
  • Supply chain problems caused by the global disruption.

Counterfeiting remains a major problem in the sector too.

USB chargers are the most commonly recalled product category across Europe, consistently making up 20-30% of recalls over the last few years.  However, UK recalls cover a whole range of products, including:

  • Sandwich makers;
  • Pet blankets;
  • Space heaters; and
  • LED beauty masks (whatever those are?)

Clearly, no part of the electronics industry can afford to be complacent.  Visit the product recall section of our website for advice on how to plan and train for dealing with a recall.