A Pew survey back in 2006 showed what Americans felt were their necessary luxuries (car, TV, air conditioner, computer). That survey was recently re-done, and tech showed surprising strength despite the economy.
The biggest loser is the microwave, far and away, with only 47% naming it as essential— a 21 point drop from 2006. In fact, pretty much everything is seen as far less essential these days, as you'd expect, except our beloved gadgetry.
iPods, flat-screen TVs, and high-speed internet are all seen as more essential than before. Cellphones stayed the same, and computers dropped a mere 1 point. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the items on the list, like air conditioning, cable tv, and dishwasher, which all suffered double-digit drops. The car, of course, is still the top spot, but even it dropped three points.
So, readers, what can't you live without? I'd definitely do without a car before getting rid of my laptop, but maybe that's just me. [TampaBay]