In short, yes. While not every specialty retailer based in physical locations may go under at some point, the heavy influence on consumer behavior wrought by both the Internet as well as the giant discount retailers has made the prospects of their continued survival suspect.
In Best Buy’s case, the acute irony is that the very technology that the company sells is the mechanism that people are using to help kill it and other specialty retailers. The symbiosis between the overall increase in “consumerism” and access to information as consumers…and the ease with which that information can be obtained and processed, courtesy of technology…is undeniable.
Bookstores, to cite another example, have famously become the victims of this seismic shift, as well; the Internet has brought us Amazon.com as the cheapest place to find new books, and has also brought us the ability to read books without having to buy an actual book at all.
Is Best Buy done for? More generally, are specialty retailers permanently headed the way of the wind? Only time will tell, but when the evolution of Internet-only and big-box retailers, both separately and together, becomes so impactful that the leading specialty stores find themselves fighting for their very lives, their long-term prognosis is anything but good.
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Bob Yetman, Editor-at-Large at Christian Money.com (www.christianmoney.com), is an author of a variety of materials on personal finance and investing, as well as on topics of fitness and self defense, to include the book Investor's Passport to Hedge Fund Profits (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) and the unarmed combat training DVD Thunderstrikes - How to Develop One Shot, One Kill Striking Power (Paladin Press).