Consumer Electronics Sales Bolster Black Friday: CEA Report

Consumers took the Black Friday sales opportunities to load up on electronics such as notebooks and MP3 players, CEA found.

Electronics were among the most popular items purchased this weekend, as more consumers bought electronics this Thanksgiving weekend than last year, according to interim results from a survey from the Consumer Electronics Association and Caravan.

Consumer electronics were among the most purchased items this weekend, increasing in popularity over last year, according to the CEA survey. Among those who went shopping on Friday, 58 percent bought some type of consumer electronic product, second only to clothing. In comparison, 54 percent of Americans purchased consumer electronics during last year's Thanksgiving weekend.

CEA's 17th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study showed consumer electronics were among the most wanted gifts of any kind this holiday. The study showed the average consumer would spend $232 on consumer electronics this year, up 5 percent from last year and the highest figure in the history of the study.

"The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start this weekend, as consumers, on average, completed nearly 20 percent of their holiday shopping, highlighting the importance of the Thanksgiving Day weekend for retailers, manufacturers and consumers," said Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and director of research. "Consumers continue to seek discounts, and they certainly found them this weekend, with the bulk of shoppers saying the deals they found were good to excellent."

Consumers hit stores over the weekend in search of deals and special Black Friday promotions. Consistent with CEA's holiday forecast, the most popular electronics that shoppers purchased this past weekend were portable MP3 players such as the iPod, video game consoles and accessories, and computers, including notebooks and tablet devices.

CEA forecast that notebook computers, Apple iPads and e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle device will among the most wanted electronics gifts this holiday season, while video game systems, MP3 players and notebook computers will be the electronics that consumers are most likely to give this holiday season.

Nearly half of those surveyed had plans of shopping this past weekend, with roughly 27 percent of U.S. adults having already shopped as of Friday. Mass merchants were the most popular shopping destination for not only electronics, but all gifts. More than three out of four (78 percent) of those surveyed shopped at a mass merchant, with those stores also being the most popular for electronics purchases.

Online retailers were also a winner this past weekend. Fifty-three percent of consumers who purchased electronics on Thursday purchased online, saying they found the same or better deals as at retail stores. "Whether online or in-person, electronics proved especially popular this weekend, consistent with CEA's earlier Black Friday predictions," DuBravac said. "Electronics remain the must-have gift this holiday as consumers continue to seek portable and content-driven devices."