What is Planned Obsolescence?
Planned obsolescence is a strategy used by companies where they design products with a limited useful life or make them quickly become outdated. This approach encourages consumers to buy new or updated versions more frequently. For instance, a smartphone might be built in a way that it slows down or its battery deteriorates after a few years, prompting the user to replace it. In another scenario, software updates might no longer support older models of devices, making them less functional over time.
This concept is closely related to the consumer durables field because many products in this category, like electronics and appliances, are often subject to planned obsolescence. Companies in the consumer durables industry might use this strategy to drive continuous demand for their products, ensuring that consumers return to buy newer models. While it can boost sales for the companies, it also raises concerns about consumer rights, environmental impact due to increased waste, and the ethical implications of such business practices.
Companies in the consumer durables field typically produce goods that are expected to last for several years. This field includes a wide range of product categories such as home appliances, electronics, furniture, and automobiles. Some well-known companies in this field include:
- Whirlpool Corporation: A leading manufacturer of home appliances, known for its refrigerators, washing machines, and other large domestic appliances.
- Samsung Electronics: A South Korean multinational conglomerate that produces a wide range of consumer and industrial electronics, including smartphones, televisions, and home appliances.
- LG Electronics: Another South Korean multinational that manufactures electronics, chemicals, and telecom products. They are known for their home appliances, mobile devices, and televisions.
- General Electric (GE): An American multinational conglomerate, GE operates in various sectors, including aviation, power, renewable energy, and also produces a range of consumer appliances.
- Sony Corporation: A Japanese multinational conglomerate which produces a wide range of consumer electronics products including televisions, audio systems, and gaming consoles.
- Panasonic Corporation: A major Japanese multinational electronics company, known for its wide range of electronic products and appliances.
- Ford Motor Company: An American multinational automaker that designs, manufactures, markets, and services a full line of cars, trucks, and SUVs.
- Tesla, Inc.: An American electric vehicle and clean energy company known for its electric cars, battery energy storage, and solar products.
- Ikea: A Swedish multinational company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, and home accessories.
- Apple Inc.: Primarily known for its consumer electronics like iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers, Apple is a significant player in the consumer durables sector.
These companies represent a diverse range of products and services within the consumer durables industry, each with its own specialties and market segments.
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