When the economy was booming, it was easy for consumers to indulge themselves when it came to technology.

If a new and improved iPod came out, buying one was a done deal even if the one you had was still fine. If a bigger and better TV hit the market, the drooling and buying would soon follow. If your ISP was offering ultra-fast broadband, upgrading was a no-brainer.

But happens now that the economy has stalled or even heading into a recession? What will consumers give up?

Will consumers hang on to their gadgets, computers and TVs longer? Will the start to pore over their cable bills to see if they really need to be paying for ESPN 8? Will we start renting more DVDs rather than buy them?

My sense is consumers will be far more pragmatic about new purchases. The model of offering new products that only feature a few upgrades (e.g. digital cameras with another megapixel or two) isn’t going to work as well. Before consumers are going to pull out their wallets, they’re going to want to see some sizzle and steak.

It will be interesting to see if Apple can avoid being caught in the new consumer-ism, or whether it will have to bend to adapt to a landscape where the disposable dollars aren’t as abundant.

For more, check out this article in the Orlando Sentinel.

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