Planned Obsolescence


Planned obsolescence (also known as built-in obsolescence or premature obsolescence) is a strategy of planning or producing a product with an artificially limited useful life or a purposefully flimsy design so that it becomes obsolete after a certain period of time. It is important to note that, in order for the strategy of developing long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases to succeed, it has to be implemented properly. The deliberate shortening of a product’s lifespan with the intention of encouraging individuals to purchase functional replacements is known as “shortening the replacement cycle.”

When a firm has an oligopoly, planned obsolescence is more likely to succeed. The producer must first realize that the client is at least somewhat likely to buy a replacement from them before employing planned obsolescence. There’s an information asymmetry between the manufacturer and customer in these situations because the producer knows how long the product was intended to last. Product life cycles tend to lengthen in more competitive markets. When Japanese vehicles with longer lifespans debuted on the American market in the 1960s and 1970s, American automobile companies were compelled to improve their durability.

Planned Obsolescence Q&A

What does obsolescence refer to?

Obsolescence refers to the state of being which occurs when an object, service or practice is no longer maintained, required or degraded even though it may still be in good working order.

How do you know when something has been designed with planned obsolescence?

When something becomes unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.

When does obsolescence typically happen?

Obsolesce typically happens before something becomes obsolete (disused or discarded) and/or antiquated (old-fashioned).

What causes something to become disused or discarded?

Something becomes disused or discarded when it's replaced by something else that performs better than what was previously used; this could be due to technological.