Anyone that doesn't know we are in a recession now either lives under a rock or is sticking their head in the ground like an ostrich. During these times, the average consumer contracts their spending habits, internally starts considering ways to save money and essentially, becomes a more efficient part of the consumer market.
To put a twist on this, couldn't you also say during these times that the average person becomes smarter and acts like a consumer should act normally? Instead of the brainwashed gluttony during the fat times, recessions like these are a worldwide bucket of cold water in the face to wake everyone up and to realize that they are no longer in a dream world where everyone makes good money, jobs are everywhere, disposable income falls out of the tree in your front yard and everything is perfect.
What did people expect? Did they really think that the world could keep on going like this forever? Are we seriously that ignorant?
Consumers are no longer buying new cars seeing their 3 year old car in the driveway still is in perfect condition and there is no need to replace something working well just because of a warranty. Consumers are also no longer replacing their computer every 2-3 years seeing the one they bought in 2002 after a format and OS reinstall is still perfectly fast and they are only out the cost of paying a tech to return their computer back to factory fresh. If you have a tech-savvy relative, that cost is now zero. No one is investing huge amounts of dollars in their computers anymore and the industry is slowly starting to grind to a halt and is witnessing one of the biggest backlashes in decades. No longer is the brainwashed term “obsolete” being muttered when their laptop is a year old nor are people being convinced that a rev 1.1A piece of hardware is better than their rev. 1.1 product they have been using daily. Low and behold, their boom-time blurred vision clears, all of a sudden when times are tough their computer is perfect for their needs.
A perfect example of this backlash can be summed up in one word, Vista. There isn't another word in the computer industry that has brought about such negativity to a single company in recent memory. It practically sent Microsoft scrambling back to the drawing board in order to bring about a new OS that isn't trying to convince the world that they need to invest $500 just to install a new operating system. Seriously, did Microsoft think that they could keep on pushing more unneeded hardware through the release of unnecessary bloatware? That hard sell back then is now been upgraded to an impossible sell.
Because of this backlash coupled with a smarter consumer, Microsoft is bringing a new OS to the market within months that will to a certain extent threaten the computer hardware market. Through tests with Windows 7 on computers I have had on hand dating back over 7 years, this one OS will convince even the least computer literate people that with one purchase, they could essentially save thousands of dollars in needless computer upgrades. Other than sticking to XP (which most of you have been doing), purchasing this upcoming operating system will do all daily standard tasks as quick as any new computer fresh out of the box while upgrading you to the latest code and features for 2009. Yes, it is that good. This will in time brighten an overall gloomy impression that they have in the industry today and might be the smartest thing they did since they buried Windows Me. They couldn't have timed it better and could be a little bit of luck on their part.
Sure the gamers and computer enthusiasts will realize that this is not directed at them at all seeing they do need the best of the best when it comes to computer hardware, but for the average consumer, this might be the deal of the century. Hell, even the gamers and enthusiasts will get more performance for their investment if this trend does come through.
But, will it kill the computer hardware market? Essentially no, but it will drastically slow the release of new hardware that the consumer will not need. Couple that with cloud computing and your internet connection speed is becoming much more important than your hardware configuration.
Within the upcoming year or so we will find that out for sure. Smaller wallets are forcing people to reconsider unneeded purchases and computers today are so fast that comparing the basic execution speed for standard software for a budget computer when compared to a expensive top of the line model results in a performance difference in the fractions of seconds. And trust me, people are noticing this and are spending more money upgrading their existing machine rather than buying new.
Because of this revelation, I applaud the general population that is finally getting this important point. It was just unfortunate that it took such a major economic collapse to wake everyone up.
Recent trends dictate that consumers are spending money where it matters and sprucing up their computer rather than replacing it. Hell, they might throw in a little additional memory seeing it is cheap, maybe buy a new case or upgrade their power supply to a green version that will save them some money on their electricity costs.
These are all things that used to go through a enthusiast's mind 5 years ago and I am glad that the economic conditions might bring the rebirth of the computer tweaker. And that should excite everyone.