Tech wrap: Bargain hunting may hurt retailers

November 25, 2011

Broader bargain hunting driven by budgetary fears may depress overall holiday spending, mitigating any hefty gains retailers reaped from long lines of shoppers snaked around malls across the U.S.

While Black Friday has been the busiest day for years in terms of traffic at stores, it does not always mean that sales will soar for the season. Despite brisk sales right after Thanksgiving, total holiday season sales fell in both 2008 and 2009 when the recession took its hold on America’s wallets.

Shopper-related injuries were popular topics on social networks such as Twitter. A shopper at a Los Angeles-area Walmart used pepper spray on a throng of shoppers and there was a shooting in a Walmart parking lot in the Oakland area.

Apple is well ahead of rivals in building brand loyalty among its users in a mobile market where the key brands are rushing to build as large a foothold as possible, a study by research firm GfK showed. Some 84 percent of iPhone users said they would pick iPhone also when they replace their cellphone, while 60 percent of consumers who use smartphones running Google’s Android said they would stick with phones using the same software.

The Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement resumed “Operation In Our Sites”, seizing over 100 domain names in a bid to crack down on online piracy and counterfeiting, BitTorrent blog TorrentFreak writes.

Compared to previous seizure rounds, there are also some notable differences to report. This time the action appears to be limited to sites that directly charge visitors for their services. Most of the domains are linked to the selling of counterfeit clothing (e.g. 17nflshop.com), and at least one (autocd.com) sold pirated auto software.

Unnerved by a second profit warning in a month, investors sent HTC shares tumbling for a second straight day on concern the world’s No.4 smartphone maker may be running out of ideas in an increasingly competitive market. Sales at HTC — whose models include Desire, Sensation, Wildfire, Rhyme and ChaCha — grew four-fold in a year and a half, and in the third quarter of this year it sold more smartphones in the U.S. than any of its rivals. But its cracking performance is sputtering as it fails to bring out new products to rival the iPhone and Galaxy in the high-end smartphone market.

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