Continuing our earlier recession coverage, a new survey from Pew Research Center indicates that the recession has forced Americans to reevaluate many items that used to be seen as necessities. Comparing the outcome with 2006 survey of luxuries & necessities, Pew found the following :
- Car is a must have: A vast majority of Americans (88%) see car as an essential, edging 3% down from 2006.
- Home appliances are more discretionary: Appliances such as a dishwasher or clothes dryer declines in importance & are now considered more discretionary. Just 21% (down from 35%) say a dishwasher is a necessity, & 66% say the same for a dryer (down from 83%). 47% say a microwave is a necessity (down from 68%) & 54% say the same for an AC (down from 70%).
- Going online + high speed internet are necessity: Half of Americans believe PC is a necessity, roughly the same as in 2006. However high-speed Internet grows in importance (31% in 2009, up from 29% in 2006).
Broadband users’ monthly bills have dropped nearly 16% from 2006, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Broadband service cost an average $34.50 per month last year & monthly DSL charges dropped from $32 to $31.50, according to Pew.
- Fewer consider TV a necessity: 52% of Americans (down from 64%) think of their TV as a necessity. Cable or satellite TV loses importance (23% in 2009, down from 33% in 2006). 24% of respondents indicating that they have reduced or cancelled cable or satellite TV subscription. Trend is undoubtedly digital wherein by canceling your cable subscription you save around $60-a-month bill at the same time with high speed internet at home you can watch full episodes of more than 300 shows from NBC Universal & Fox stations at Hulu.
- Cellphones, iPods are necessity: Americans’ opinions about cellular phones remains unchanged. 49% see cell phones as necessary, roughly the same as in 2006. However 22% have changed to less expensive plan or canceled services. iPod ranks last in list with 4% claiming it a necessity, roughly the same as in 2006.
Additional findings from the survey :
- 57% bought less expensive brands or shopped more at discount stores.
- 28% have cut cut back spending on alcohol & cigarettes.
- 21% have made plan to plant vegetable garden.
- 20% started doing home repairs on their own.
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