MediaFile

Maybe $400 heaters and $85,000 TVs will get consumers spending again

                                                                                          It was a confusing week to be a consumer electronics reporter. At the start, I was convinced that no one wants to spend on anything besides an iPad and by the end, I learned that there are people out there buying $85,000 TVs.

On Tuesday, Best Buy’s shares tanked on disappointing earnings. Our headline shouted “tech shoppers turn thrifty,”  and explained how nobody will buy a new flat-screen TV once they have bought their first one.

But if U.S. consumers won’t shell out for new flat screens, maybe they will buy high-end fans and heaters. That’s what James Dyson told me on Wednesday at the launch of the inventor’s latest gadget– a heater that costs $400, the Dyson Hot.

Dyson’s privately held UK-based company has 2,700 employees and saw its profit soar 26 percent this year, on the strengh of items like its cordless vacuum cleaner and swanky “air multiplier” fans that lack blades and cost much more than the competition.

Dyson told Reuters that Best Buy, his company’s largest distrubutor in the U.S., would probably rebound when spending comes back. “People will always want to buy technology,” he said.

from Reuters Money:

Cybercrime: 3 threats to watch for this holiday season

A generic picture of a woman working in an office sitting at her desk typing on a computer. REUTERS/Catherine BensonHoliday shopping: It's down to the 11th hour and rather than jostling for a parking spot or fighting for a fitting room, more consumers are choosing to shop online or on their mobile devices.

Sure, shopping online can save you some coin on shipping costs, and using a smartphone certainly makes price comparisons infinitely easier. But consumers are trading convenience for safety, according to a new study sponsored by Norton and conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research.

“It’s the amount of activity that makes people more vulnerable," says personal finance expert Jean Chatzky. "People just aren’t being as careful as they should be in a number of different ways."Jean Chatzky is pictured in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout

from Summit Notebook:

More or less fun in a recession? It’s a tough call

EA_Jens_Uwe_Intat_SVP_Reuters_Summit_Paris_2010_17_May_30pctStill unsure whether economic recession is good or bad for video-games sales, more than a year in? If so, you're in good company -- neither does the world's biggest games publisher. Electronic Arts' head of European publishing says the company still hasn't figured out whether people cut spending on big items like housing and cars first, or whether those kinds of decisions are just too hard.

"We really wonder, hmm, in economically difficult times would people in order to have SOME fun actually play more games or less games, and then, would they spend more or less?  It's really, it's impossible to say," Jens-Uwe Intat told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in Paris.

In the early days of the downturn, the industry was widely thought to be recession-proof as people chose cheap stay-at-home entertainment over pricey nights out. That assumption was later turned on its head.