One-Trick Gadgets Trending Down With Consumers

Methodshop/CC BY-SA 2.0

We often say that gadget minimalism has everything to do with selecting devices that will multi-task for you, so that you can get rid of a multitude of one-trick devices -- alarm clocks, calculators, timers, digital cameras, MP3 players, and so on -- in favor of one device that accomplishes all those many tasks. Apparently expecting more from devices has caught on among consumers, as a new survey from Accenture of over 11,000 consumers shows that "single use" electronics are on the decline.

Among the findings, Accenture reports:


Consumers are focusing on fewer, multiple-function devices. Purchase intentions for single-function devices are flattening or declining as smartphones, tablets, PCs and high-definition televisions climb at double-digit rates.

Consumers are not locked into any single platform. Consumers know about the operating system of their devices but the research does not suggest loyalty to a specific operating system.

As consumers experiment and search for the technologies and services that best meet their needs, cloud-based services and apps are showing substantial increase in use.

This is potentially a good sign for sustainability in consumer electronics, but only if fewer gadgets overall are purchased, and if those purchased are kept longer -- but those two key issues are not moving in as positive a direction. People are still buying more consumer electronics and replacing them as quickly as new models come out. What's more, electronics recycling rates are still low. Still, looking at the bright side, creating and buying fewer devices that have limited capabilities is a positive move.

Tags: Consumerism | Gadgets | Technology

Best of TreeHugger