More Consumers Call Flat-​Screen TVs a Must Have

As new products come on the market, consumers develop opinions about what they believe are the necessities of life. A recent Pew Research Center report shows how attitudes have changed in the past year. Are the gadgets consumers call necessities somehow linked to economic conditions? Not so much, according to the research. Instead, consumer age may play the biggest role in attitudes about what's hip.

For example, 42% of consumers currently call  television a necessity. That’s a lower percentage than previously, but 10% say a flat-​screen TV is the new must-​have. It’s not just younger consumers who think these devices are cool. Over 17% of seniors, age 65+, believe a flat-​screen TV is a necessity. What are the other items that seniors call necessities? Mostly, they want items that have been on the market a while:

  • Landlines 77%
  • TV sets 53%
  • Cable service 35%

On the other hand, consumers under age 30 want to own items that are fairly recent introductions. The must-​have products include:

  • Mobile phones: 59%
  • Home computer: 53%
  • High-​speed Internet access: 33%

It’s not hugely surprising that younger consumers view landlines as dispensible and it’s certainly an extra expense that many have decided to do  without. The researchers also picked up on some market changes linked to economic conditions. They noticed a significant drop in status for certain household appliances. Fewer consumers call the following items a necessity these days and the new attitude became apparent at the start of the recession. Here are the percentages of consumers who must have the following:

  • Clothes dryers 59%
  • Home air conditioning 55%
  • Microwave ovens 49%

Look for marketers of these household appliances to revamp their product features and marketing programs to make sure that more consumers call dryers, air conditioners and microwave ovens a necessity next year.

[Source: Taylor, Paul. The Fading Glory of the Television and Telephone. PewSocialTrends​.com. 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 14 Sept. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.