Prices in camera shops are not affected by short scale fluctuations in people's buying power, but auction style sales are. So if you're after a deal you would have to monitor auction sites' completed listings for few months until you detect one of those dead periods and then place your bid. Of course buying from a camera shop gives you peace of mind and a chance to try before you buy and you get to support them in those tough times.
In any case, I would imagine if the economy starts improving and people get employed again then demand would probably rise and the prices would go up in shops and in auctions.