Hugh Pickens writes writes "The NY Times reports that there are indications that a sea change is taking place in consumer behavior as a result of the great recession: Americans are buying less tech stuff and making it last longer (reg. may be required). Although in many cases the difference is mere months, economists and consumers say the approach may outlast a full recovery and the return of easy credit, because of the strong impression the downturn has made on consumers. For example Patti Hauseman stuck with her five-year-old Apple computer until it started making odd whirring noises and occasionally malfunctioning before she bought a new computer for Christmas — actually, a refurbished one. 'A week later, the old one died. We timed it pretty well,' says Hauseman, adding that it was not so much that she could not afford new things, but that the last few years of economic turmoil had left her feeling that she could be stealing from her future by throwing away goods that still had value. Consumers are holding onto new cars for a record 63.9 months, up 4.5 months from a year ago and 14 percent since the end of 2008, according one research firm. Industry analysts also report that people on average are waiting 18 months to upgrade their cellphones, up from every 16 months just a few years ago. 'We're not going back to a time of our grandmothers' tales of what they kept and how they used things so carefully,' says Nancy F. Koehn, a professor at the Harvard Business School and a historian of consumer behavior. 'But we'll see a consistent inching or trudging towards that.'"
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