In just the last five years, the “right to repair” movement has shifted from nerdy niche to the mainstream, thanks in part to significant support from the Biden FTC and efforts in states like Minnesota and New York to pass new right to repair laws, making it easier and less expensive for consumers and independent repair shops to gain affordable access to manuals, tools, and replacement parts.
Surveys continue to indicate the majority of consumers support such efforts. But a significant number of folks don’t even know what the concept is, or how it applies them.
A new survey by Windows Report of 1,281 consumers found that 45 percent had never even heard of “right to repair.” Another 22 percent had heard of the concept but really had no idea how it applied to them personally:
But when consumers were asked if they would be more likely to purchase a device that is easier to repair, 80 percent said yes. And 83 percent stated that legal regulations should enforce the right to repair computers, “reflecting a desire for government intervention in promoting repair-friendly practices.”
Automakers, electronic manufacturers, and others have shown no sign of slowing down when it comes to monopolizing repair, whether that comes in the form of ham-fisted DRM, attacks on independent repair shops, or just making parts, manuals, and tools expensive and scarce.
But the harder they try to squeeze the more annoyed consumers get, and the more likely they are to support legislative right to repair reforms on either the state or federal level. It’s a hard debate for corporations to spin, so such policies continue to have overwhelming bipartisan support, and there’s clearly a lot of room left to grow when it comes to public education campaigns.