Yesterday I walked past the old Gadget Shop in the local shopping center. It has been closed for more than a week but yesterday mark the final deathbed to our (former) favourite high street store. Yesterday (or the day before) the store was cleared out leaving only a single solitary portable DVD remote control on the display window.
Just last month, our branch of IT, another shop specializing in gadgets went bust and had to close down. Actually they were pretty cool. One of the few shops in London I could actually find the Nextlink Bluespoon Digital (at a cool price of £200!!!).
Before Gadget Shop brought us the affordable Monkeh, you have to pay more than £100 for ITV Digital's Monkey Sidekick (Picture source: BBC News)
Now our leafy Broadway center only has a couple of tech related stores - Dixons, Currys, Sony, Jessops and a couple of mid-end hifi stores. Richer Sounds is further down the road so it does not count, plus they only sell audio/video equipments.
The closure of both stores I believe highlight the fact that consumers are getting a little more sophisticated in gadget purchasing through 'proper' electronic stores or through the interweb. Either that or gadgets are not 'in' anymore. I am going to argue two ways here.
Mobile clubbing, combine geekness with coolness (picture source: The Register)
Prices of proper consumer electronics like digital cameras are falling. When we got our 2mp Fuji digital camera three years ago it was about £300. Now you can get 4mp Olympus digital cameras for under £100. People do not need to go into Gadget Shops to get cheap Praktica or Concorde digital cameras anymore. Why would you when you can purchase a quality 4mp Kodak LS743 with Schneider Kreuznach lens or 5mp Pentaxs for under £150?
Robosapien: At least we don't have to worry tripping over this idiot anymore (Picture source: MrToys.com)
Are gagdets still trendy? If so, people here are pretty damn experience in hiding their lust of all things plastic. People are finally ditching their Bluetooth headsets. Wearing one would advertise yourself for arse kicking. The current fad, that is the iPod, is dying. iPod users are replacing their white earbuds for more discreet black ones (finally). People do not bring their laptop anymore (although some still do in the name of 'work') to every darn cafes.
Luckily for me I can't read that (Picture source: no idea)
Why surf while sipping overpriced Cameral Macchiato when you can do that in the comfort of your home? It is nice to see cafes becoming once again proper public spheres where real people chat with real people in non-digitized voices. People are leaving their mobiles switched off and becoming humans again. Just last week a couple of high school girls offered me cookies (for free - they are not girls scout) when I whizzed through the Broadway.
Picture source: Soho Theatre
While we lost two gadget stores, we gained two organic stores over the past few months. Farm W5 which opened a few months ago is now a popular store among health (and ethic) conscious West Londoners. I can't remember the name of the other one (it just opened last week) but I believe it is a branch of As Nature Intended. The store is pretty large, double the size of normal off-license. Too bad going organic is expensive.