I’ve changed topics and am now focusing on the shift in manufacturing of consumer goods from durables to disposables. I want to explore several shifts in practices and attitudes, particularly among consumers, as well as changes in technology that have caused this shift. Finally, I hope to determine whether the decrease in many products’ lifespans indicates a decline in quality, or is merely the result of more rapid growth and shifts in purchasers’ habits.
I plan to divide the paper into subsections, namely between changes in the practices of companies and manufacturers and those of consumers. The paper will address these issues as they relate to the American market and its development from the post-WWII era to the present.
- Introduction: Shift in manufacturing from consumer durables to disposables
- Average lifetime of common products; products that were popular post WWII
- Scarcity of WWII made consumers appreciate quality, long lifespan
- Manufacturing shift from post-war boom in U.S. to foreign made
- Americans now lack technical skills necessary to bring manufacturing back to U.S.
- Shift in type of products demanded
- New technology needs to be replaced more frequently because of increased growth (exponential development of technology)
- Planned obsolescence
- Forces consumers to upgrade more frequently
- New products made incompatible with old
- Warranties decreased
- Shift in marketing: focus on newest models
- Cars kept for a few years instead of a decade; leased instead of purchased
- Electronics require frequent updating or replacing