Planned Obsolescence


Planned Obsolescence
A manufacturing decision by a company to make consumer products in such a way that they become out-of-date or useless within a known time period. The main goal of this type of production is to ensure that consumers will have to buy the product multiple times, rather than only once. This naturally stimulates demand for an industry's products because consumers have to keep coming back again and again.

Products ranging from inexpensive light bulbs to high-priced goods such as cars and buildings are subject to planned obsolescence by manufacturers and producers.

Also known as "built-in obsolescence".

Planned obsolescence does not always sit well with consumers, especially if competing companies offer similar products but with much more durability. Pushing this production too far can result in customer backlash, or a bad reputation for a brand.

However, planned obsolescence doesn't always have such a negative connotation. Companies can engage in this activity solely as a means of controlling costs. For example, a cell phone manufacturer may decide to use parts in its phones that have a maximum lifespan of five years, instead of parts that could last 20 years. It's unlikely most consumers will use the same cell phone five years after purchase, and so the company can lower input costs by using cheaper parts without fearing a customers backlash.


Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • planned obsolescence — ➔ obsolescence * * * planned obsolescence UK US noun [U] ► PRODUCTION a situation in which goods are deliberately made or designed so that they do not last for a long period of time: »Critics of planned obsolescence call it wasteful and dishonest …   Financial and business terms

  • Planned obsolescence — The Centennial Light in the Livermore, California Firehouse is often cited as evidence for the existence of planned obsolescence in later produced light bulbs.[1] Planned obsolescence or built in obsolescence[2] …   Wikipedia

  • planned obsolescence — /ˌplænd ˌɒbsə les(ə)ns/ adjective built in obsolescence ● Planned obsolescence was condemned by the consumer organisation as a cynical marketing ploy …   Marketing dictionary in english

  • planned obsolescence — planned obso lescence n [U] when a product is deliberately made so that it will soon be replaced by something more fashionable or more technically advanced. This is done so that people will want to buy new things more often …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • planned obsolescence — planned ob|so|les|cence [ ,plænd absə lesəns ] noun uncount the practice of making products that will quickly become old fashioned, or will not last long, so that people will need to replace them …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • planned obsolescence — a method of stimulating consumer demand by designing products that wear out or become outmoded after limited use. Also called built in obsolescence. [1965 70] * * * …   Universalium

  • planned obsolescence — See obsolescence …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • planned obsolescence — a method of stimulating consumer demand by designing products that wear out or become outmoded after limited use. Also called built in obsolescence. [1965 70] …   Useful english dictionary

  • planned obsolescence — noun a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing …   English new terms dictionary

  • planned obsolescence — noun (U) the practice of making products that will soon become unfashionable or less advanced than the newest ones, so that people will have to buy new ones more often …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English


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