What Is Planned Obsolescence

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What is planned obsolescence and what is its effect on the value proposition?

What is planned obsolescence, what is the value proposition, what effect does one have on the other, and where does the consumer draw the line? Planned obsolescence is a very large part of the consumer’s daily life, from every flip of the light switch, to every call you make on your cellphone. Your milk is not the only thing with an expiration date these days. You may not know this, but the manufacturing companies do!

What is planned obsolescence also known as “built-in obsolescence? The best way to describe it is by definition—planned obsolescence is when a manufacturing decision is made by a company to make a consumer product using inferior parts so that it becomes out-of-date (obsolete) or breaks down within a shorter period of time than it would have if they had used high-quality parts. That way the consumer has to buy the product, or its upgrade, sooner. Then there is value proposition, which is a promise from the company and the belief of the consumer that the value delivered will be experienced, essentially “you get what you pay for.”

If you buy an expensive product, you expect it to last long than a cheaper product. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. It is hard to say whether the effect planned obsolescence has on the value proposition is good or bad. It is all about how the consumer feels. If the consumer feels they are not getting the most out of a product for the amount of money they spent, they are going to feel cheated and ripped-off. However, think of this—a cellphone or computer manufacturer may decide to use parts that have a maximum lifespan of five to eight years, when they could use parts that would last up to 20 years. But let’s face it, who keeps a cellphone or computer more than eight years? By using cheaper parts, the company can lower their manufacturing costs, and then the consumer can buy the product at a lower price. When it comes to...
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