Tech Repair, Support Services See Growth Amid Recession

During the Great Depression, Americans found ways to repair and reuse many items -- turning gunny sacks into dresses, for instance. In the current economic depression, the same may apply to electronics, according to FixYa, a user-to-user tech support community.

In a press release, the company reported strong growth over the last six months from nine million to 13 million monthly visitors. Simultaneously, new PC shipments have slumped as consumers hold off updating their computing hardware.

On FixYa, users can pose questions to the Fixya community at no cost. For US$19.99 the site offers live chat support for as long as needed and for $9.99 users can get unlimited e-mail support for a given problem. The site's simple design also lets users search through existing questions and answers on the site.

Other companies in the tech support space are also citing growth.

"The percent of our business devoted to repair is definitely increasing," Paula Baldwin, a spokesperson for Geek Squad, a consumer-electronics services company, recently told CNN.com.

She added that when it comes to electronics, people are trying "to either repair that gear or add to its functionality and what it [the product] does for them."

But others think that while Americans might cut back in many ways during this recession, people will still buy electronic gadgets.

"During other recessions, we could live without these technologies," Shawn DuBravac, an economist for the Consumer Electronics Association said in the CNN.com article. "Whether you're male or female, 18 or 81, chances are you'll buy a technology product this year."

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