Why repairing things has become obsolete now

The idea of repairing a gadget, appliance or hardware is getting obsolete day by day. Many people like to go for a new one if their product goes faulty and do not prefer repairing it. This article aims to throw light on reasons behind this change in trend.


There was a time many years back when people used any product they brought to its last breath till it became old and non-repairable. It was this time when people considered buying a new one. Otherwise, people kept on repairing them and using them. But now the trend has changed tremendously. Whether it is TV, laptop, mobile or home and kitchen appliances or bathroom hardware people nowadays seldom prefer to keep on repairing the things and using them. Once the gadget gets few years old and they face a problem with it they prefer to replace it with a new one. For things like mobile phones, this period is even less. What can be reasons behind this trend? Lets us try to list down the reasons.

Factors due to which repair has become outdated

  • Rise in income levels : Nowadays income levels of people have risen and so has their lifestyle. This allows them to go for a new product every time they see that repair is going to cost little more. They think that by spending some more on it they can buy a new one with a warranty rather than repairing the old one. But for low salary group people they will still try to get them repaired as for them spending that little more to get a new product may not be affordable.
  • Degradation in quality : If you carefully observe nowadays products coming in the market do not have that much longevity as compared to the items which used to come in earlier days. This is due to the downfall of the manufacturing quality. In present-day products, we start getting complaint very soon compared to earlier times. Due to this people have to get their gadgets repaired more frequently and ultimately people are tired of it and think of buying a new one instead of repairing. In olden days product quality was better and problems and repairs were not so frequent as now. Hence people used them for years and years. We may be using few gadgets even now which we bought when we were young. But in current day product, I feel it would be difficult to achieve this. This is my personal observation and I may be wrong also.
  • Fall in prices : Compared to old times there has been sharp fall in prices of electronic and electrical goods in present days making these items a lot cheaper. Hence the ratio of repair cost to the cost of a new product is very high for such products. For a costly item like TV, AC washing machines etc repairs still hold some value but imagine the case of small appliances which do not cost much. For such items sometimes repair cost comes to 30 t0 50% of the product cost. Hence people sometimes consider it wise to go for a new product and at least enjoy the warranty period.
  • Improvement in technology : In modern days technology has improved a lot and it is still improving day by day. So future products coming to the market are more advanced versions of their predecessors with a new set of features. Hence sometimes people prefer to buy the latest products and enjoy new features and facilities rather getting the old one repaired.
  • More varieties : It goes without saying that nowadays there are wide varieties of products available and people sometimes find difficult to make a choice. This is in sharp contrast to earlier days when people did not have so many choices and were not tempted to try out newer varieties. With wide varieties of particular product available now people are often tempted to try out the new things and end up purchasing them rather getting their old product repaired.
  • Less availability of spare parts : Availability of spare parts for repair is another important factor responsible for a shift of people from repairing to buying a new product. In earlier times small spare parts were easily available and it was easy to get the things repaired. Nowadays availability of spare parts has comparatively become more difficult and people even if they want to get their product repaired get discouraged due to this problem.
  • High repair cost : Though prices of few products may have decreased compared to earlier days repair cost nowadays for any products is always on the higher side. Many companies charge huge service charge even for just opening and inspecting the product for problems. So high repair cost sometimes demotivates people from repairing the products.
  • Marketing strategy: I feel nowadays it has become marketing strategy of the big companies that they want their customers to buy a new product rather than going for repairs and servicing. This way they can earn more profit. Hence companies tend to bring newer features and varieties to attract the attention of the customers. I also feel that these companies themselves do not want their products to last a lifetime as if this would happen no one would think of buying a new one. Hence I feel they may purposely manufacturing products with mediocre quality which demand repair and their life ends sooner so that people can think of buying a new product. For the same reason, companies might be not be preferring to make spare parts available at ease and encourage the repairs. Their motto is to get you replace the product rather than repair. Again this is my personal opinion and assumption and I may be wrong here


Hence we see that there can be different factors involved in making repair less popular nowadays. While some reasons make sense and it is wiser to replace the product than repair, there are other reasons which are secondary and depend on taste and mindset of people. If some people can afford they simply want to go for a new product rather than repair while for a poor person it is not the same case. My take on this is that we should make a sensible, rational and logical decision as far as deciding between repair and replacement is concerned balancing all the factors together. If we do it it can save us money and prevent hardships.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao12 Mar 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

It is true these days people want to update themselves with the latest products in the market. Everyone will be waiting for a chance for this. So any small problem with the gadget, it will be replaced. The latest model of a cell phone looks more attractive and TV adds will make us feel that the model what we are using is inferior and we will think of ways and means to change the handset. A small problem with the existing piece. Take the advantage and replace it.
Another reason for this trend is the manpower cost. These days the cost of repairs are so high making people think of going for a new one.

Author: Natarajan12 Mar 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

A great practical question. I still remember taking my shirts and pants while in college for darning (to close the small holes and tears neatly). I also remember mother fixing plastic bucket holes with the traveling plastic repairman who would stick a piece of plastic and heat seal it all around. It's all gone now, at least from the cities.

Wonder what happened, with time things have changed. Along with the increasing affordability, I think the value for hard earned money which we had those days is not seen now. Now its easy come, easy go.

I agree with the author, the quality has come down a lot, in those days, if one where to buy a prestige cooker, the rubber, and the safety gasket device would come for years, now every few months we have to replace the cooker lid rubber as the quality is inferior. My first college entry gift was Raymonds Sapphire pant length and Arvind mills shirt piece, I remember those clothes lasting for many years, such as the quality.

Competition and continued advances have made the gadgets and items being sold at a cheaper price. Now, there are very few items over which one seller has a monopoly. I think purposefully, many spare parts are difficult to get and the cost of repairs is high that people feel, it's better to give off the old ones and get a new one.

Many companies have exchange offers for kitchen utensils and electrical appliances. They give a small amount in return and a discount on the new purchase. This exchange offer is also one of the reasons for not trying to repair old items.

Lastly, has anyone seen a child buying a refill for a ballpen. No, but most of us would have bought refills for our jotter or Reynolds ballpens.

Author: K Mohan15 Mar 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Yes what the author has said is true. People are now opting for fresh things or gadgets instead of going for repair. For example if a ceiling fan is not functioning well the minimum repair charges would be 400 to 600 rupees. And it is the fact that for 800 rupees new ceiling fan is available in the market. So no one would go for the repairs as hardly for two hundred rupees more, the new fan comes with guarantee and warranty. Likewise many products are available in affordable rates rather than spending on old one Like wise second hand two wheeler tyres are also waste as the life expectancy is not guaranteed and costs almost the half the price of branded one. So going for new products is the best way option available to us.

Author: Venkiteswaran31 May 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Use and throw culture has set in. This has caused a great problem of 'what to do with the waste'?
Now in every home, we can see heaps of used electronic gadgets. Some simply throw them wherever they find it possible. But those with some conscience keep them accumulated in some corner of their homes with the hope of disposing to some 'radhiwala'.

In my home, I have resisted my temptation to upgrade my gadgets and 'pulling on' with the obsolete models as far as they are working. The main reason is 'where will I dispose the old ones?"

Recently I wanted to exchange my window AC with a split AC. But the shopkeeper was ready to give me the exchange discount but did not take the old window AC. I could not get anyone to install my old window AC in my new residence. All advised me to go for a new split AC. Hence I have suppressed my intention to buy a new TV also.

Author: Umesh23 Jul 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

An excellent article showing the paradigm shift in the area of repairs of the gadgets.

In earlier times, many gadgets were having discreet parts and even a technically aware person was able to do some basic repairs. No one went for the original parts at that time but managed to use a similar part with some modification and the thing was set working.

With time, the situation has drastically changed as the concept of AMC has come in picture. People are ready to pay AMC cost annually which is generally 10-15% of gadget price. From old viewpoint it is a big money and if nothing goes wrong we feel that this money is just going out like that.

Due to computerisation and software-driven machines, the ordinary technicians are not able to repair a variety of the gadgets and we are forced to call the authorised engineer from the branded company who will definitely be charging more than the old time mechanics and technicians who used to do small things for us even free of charge sometimes.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta28 Sep 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

Yes, its true nowadays people don't go for repairing gadgets instead they buy a new one in place of it. Firstly the repairing cost of the gadgets has increased as compared to the new ones. Also, it is difficult to find spare parts as technology goes on changing so fast these days.

Like mobile phones, with the introduction of Chinese products, the price of things have come down. For example, I bought an OPPO phone of Rs 10000/- of which screen got damaged. After getting it repaired for Rs 3000/-, I thought that I should have bought a new phone.

Likewise there are lots of gadgets where the repairing cost is very high these days. Also, people don't rely on repaired things as these have no guarantee whereas the new gadgets at least have a guarantee.

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