The overall research question in this research proposal is why people are enthusiastic to embrace planned obsolescence and leave old things aside in favor of new ones in a disposable society. Planned obsolescence is an intriguing topic on cultural studies. Planned obsolescence is an industrial policy in the making of a product with a restricted life span. This makes the product useless after some time hence it is beneficial to the producer because for consumers to continue using a product, they need to purchase a newer version of the same product. Planned obsolescence enhances the demand of a product hence ensures that a product remains relevant in the market for a long period (Christoph 102). A case of a company in America that has used planned obsolescence to its advantage is Apple Incorporation. This is evident through the continuous rolling out of new software and gadgets to replace old ones (Kathleen 102). This policy has proved successful for Apple Inc. through its historic annual sales figures.
A research on planned obsolescence is relevant in the American society because it exhibits the trends those consumers have on some products. The research on planned obsolescence in the society is related to cultural studies in the sense that the consumer’s cultural background affects the planned obsolescence policy by most companies. Consumers spending cultures and cultural background determine how they react towards marketing strategies by companies like Apple Inc. America’s culture and society has encouraged most companies to use planned obsolescence as a marketing strategy. This is because they always desire up to date products in the market. For instance, an American economic survey revealed that there was Apple products in half of America’s households. That each household owned at least an iPad, Mac book or iPhone. The survey also revealed that the expenditure on Apple products was majorly done by young adults who have developed a culture of using most of the apple products for social networking. Through such like surveys, it is clear that the spending culture among the young adults using apple products encourages planned obsolescence by the technology firm.
After pursuing this research, the desire is to acquire more insight into cultural patterns and how they affect the consumer behavior. I would also like to gain more insight in planned obsolescence and how other companies worldwide could use the policy to their advantage to help in increasing their turnover without exploiting the consumer’s. Pursuing this research would help me gain more information on the ethical implications of planned obsolescence and how it affects the consumers. This research would be conducted through case studies by interviewing and filling out of questionnaires to employees and management of some of the companies that use the policy like Apple Inc. (Giles 33). I would also interview the consumers of Apple products to understand their cultural background and how their culture affects their consumption of products. First, I would conduct surveys on Apple stores around my neighborhood to determine which is more favorable to conduct my research. Lastly, I would conduct investigative research to find out if some marketers have a materialism culture that exploits consumers of their products. By conducting investigative research on these companies, I would get more information on their planned obsolescence policy.
Behrends, Christoph. Consequences of Planned Obsolescence for Consumer Culture and the Promotional Self: Analyzing Ads. Munich: GRIN Verlag, 2008.
Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. New York: NYU Press, 2011.
Slade, Giles. Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. New York: Harvard University Press, 2007.