The aim of the study is to create a sound data basis for describing and assessing the phenomenon of obsolescence and the trends in achieved product lifespan and service life and, based on this, to develop strategies against obsolescence. The results show that electrical and electronic equipment is being replaced for many reasons. Material, functional, psychological and economic forms of obsolescence interact and create a highly complex pattern. Even the causes of material obsolescence are usually very diverse and do not allow an overarching conclusion. The analysis also confirms that the first useful service-life of most of the product groups investigated has decreased in recent years.