This past weekend's Black Friday holiday shopping kickoff didn't disappoint for consumer electronics products, as deep discounts kept consumer purchases robust, with HD televisions, digital cameras and MP3 players accounting for top sales categories, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Various reports found an increase in mobile shopping as well as an increase in the level of satisfaction associated with shopping on a smartphone.
Electronics were among the most purchased items over the Thanksgiving weekend, with nearly half of all shoppers buying technology, according to interim results from the Black Friday Weekend survey by the CEA and Caravan. The survey showed that nearly 118 million Americans shopped over the weekend (Thursday through Monday). And nearly half of shoppers (46 percent) who bought electronics purchased their device online.
"Electronics continue to be the must-have gifts of the holiday as consumers are allocating more of their overall gift budget to buy the latest, innovative technologies. Mature product categories, such as televisions, digital cameras and MP3 players, fared well this weekend as unprecedented price points proved too tempting for shoppers to ignore," Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and director of research, said. "The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start as many hit the stores or went online to kick off their holiday shopping as soon as they finished Thanksgiving dessert. These bargain hunters were able to find the deals they were after."
According to a report from the NPD Group, technology purchasers (59 percent) favored online sources for information on sales and Black Friday Doorbuster deals leading up to the event. While more traditional means of research such as TV commercials (25 percent) and catalogs (16 percent) also registered, the research firm expects mobile apps (used by just 3 percent of purchasers this year) to gain more traction as smartphone adoption increases.
Mobile shopping was led by Apple, with the iPhone and iPad ranking one and two for consumers shopping on mobile devices (5.4 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively), according to an IBM report. Mobile phones based on Google's Android platform came in third at 4.1 percent. Collectively, iPhone sales and iPad sales accounted for 10.2 percent of all online retail traffic on Black Friday.
The weekend also witnessed the arrival of the mobile deal seeker who embraced their devices as a research tool for in-store and online bargains. Mobile traffic increased to 14.3 percent on Black Friday 2011 compared to 5.6 percent in 2010, and sales on mobile devices surged to 9.8 percent from 3.2 percent year over year, according to survey results.
Overall, most consumers were happy with the deals they found this weekend. Of those who shopped, 69 percent rated the deals and sales as good or excellent. When it comes to electronics, 61 percent said the deals and sales were good or excellent. More consumers also said the deals they found in stores were better than online, with 60 percent rating in-store deals as good or excellent versus 35 percent for online.