In recent years manufacturers of consumer technology have continued to accelerate their Product Development and the main players like Apple now have annual cycles for most product lines; which in turn encourages enhanced cycles in their suppliers to accommodate the changes. The big question however is whether consumers are willing and able to refresh their own purchases on an annual or bi-annual cycle or whether different purchasing models will evolve?
Like most people I was excited to hear what new products Apple was releasing at their recent keynote in addition to the iPhone 5, however was surprised to hear that my dear old iPad 1 (only 2 years old) is now considered too out of date to receive the latest IOS6 Update. Have we entered a new era where to stay current you need to refresh your technology every 2 years? It’s interesting to read that even in these austere times Apple was still able to sell 5 million iPhone 5’s in its launch weekend so is consumer behavior reaffirming this fact and that they are willing to refresh at any cost?
Apple and many other premium manufacturers always seem to offer products, which are not only functional but also are durable and desirable. This however does come at a price, which traditionally you would expect to keep for a few years to get full value of the expense.
With the increasing number of product launches from these companies will we start to see new purchasing models appear? In other sectors we have been able to trade-in our old items for years; where would the car industry be if you had to sell your car first? Also in recent years a number of start up companies have appeared where you can trade in Mobiles, CDs, DVDs, however how long will it be before the premium manufacturers start doing this routinely rather than just as special offers? I recently noticed that this trend has already begun with Apple, Dyson, and Sony all offering trade-in deals.
If a new trade-in culture for electrical consumer goods started to evolve it will benefit everyone including the planet as old devices (could even be 2 years old) would be either recycled saving the planets raw materials or refurbished and sold. These changes would probably also encourage more people to upgrade regularly as there would be an outlet for old technology at a fair price rather than just placing it in a bottom drawer where it becomes worthless and only suitable for the bin.