Archive | November 10th, 2008

Consumers Pulling Back on Tech Spending

10. November 2008

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Newsflash to those who haven’t already figured this one out: the holiday shopping season will likely suck for most retailers and product manufacturers, especially in the high tech sector. A survey released Monday by ChangeWave Research shows that few consumers expect to be purchasing desktops and laptops over the next 90 days.

Researcher Paul Carlton is describing the weakness as “a massive breakdown in consumer spending.” With the economy increasingly going south, its looking more and more like people are spending less out of a fear of what could come in this ever-deteriorating economy.

Only 8 percent of those surveyed expect to purchase a laptop in that period, and 6 percent expected to purchase desktops. This was down from 11 percent and 8 percent respectively, and are the lowest readings recorded by the firm since it began asking consumers about their computer purchasing plans.

There is some interesting news however. Dell and Apple are leading all other manufacturers when it comes to what brands consumers plan to purchase. For Dell, 37 percent of potential buyers said they were planning to purchase a desktop, and 33 a laptop. Apple’s results were stellar as well: 33 percent plan to pick up a new MacBook, while 27 percent were considering a desktop system from the Cupertino company.

Carlton express some surprise at Apple’s success — especially considering the premium prices on the company’s systems — and said it is poised to pick up further market share during the period. Consumers seem to be associating Apple’s systems with quality.

What’s working for Dell is the value aspect, something Carlton found consumers were repeatedly saying was influencing their purchasing decisions there.

A sobering note from the study: 59 percent are planning to spend less in the next 90 days, which would include the critical holiday shopping season. Only 10 percent say they will spend more.

So tell us, are you spending more or less this holiday? What’s influencing your purchasing decisions?

A Brief History of Defunct Electronics Chains in the Form of Old TV Ads

10. November 2008


crazyeddie1Today’s news that Circuit City, American’s second-largest electronics retailer, has filed for bankruptcy left me sad. And, oddly enough, nostalgic. The City isn’t going out of business, but as I reflected on its woes I thought about all the electronics chains I’ve shopped at over the years–the vast majority of which are no longer with us. (If Circuit City were to close its doors, it would leave only Best Buy and RadioShack as truly national chains focused solely on consumer electronics of all sorts, right?)

Once I got nostalgic, I did what I often do in such situations: I headed to YouTube. Which is rife with old commercials for defunct electronics retailers. Many of these chains basically did themselves in through poor management or inability to change with the times, and I thought some of them were shabby even when I did business with them; But it’s fun to get reacquainted with them through the miracle of streaming video.

After the jump, a look back, mostly in chronological order sorted by the year of the chain’s demise (click on the year for more details on the circumstances of its death).

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Is Circuit City’s Bankruptcy the Beginning of the End?

10. November 2008


circuitcitylogoA week ago, the bad news about Circuit City was that it was closing 115 of its locations. New week, new bad news: The company has filed for Chapter 11 voluntary bankruptcy, a move that will will let it continue business without having to pay all its creditors all the money it owes them.

Bankruptcies aren’t always signs of impending corporate death. But they sure aren’t signs of robust health, either. Companies that file for bankruptices generally then segue towards one of two fates: hobbling along in a bumpy fashion thereafter, or folding.

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The Best and Worst Windows Versions of All Time

10. November 2008


bestworstwindowsA week ago, I listed the major version of Windows that Microsoft has released over the past 23 years, summarizing their pros and cons and asking the Technologizer community to vote on the best and worst editions ever. The polls are now closed. And we have a winner–and a loser. And a couple of runners-up.

None of them is exactly a shocker, but it was still a useful reality check. After the jump, a full report.

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Best. Game About a President-Elect. Ever.

10. November 2008

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Three words: Super Obama World. And some screens after the jump–yes, those are pigs in lipstick.

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