Online Shoppers Turn Out in Droves for Weekend Sales: CEA

CEA predicts 126 million U.S. adults will have shopped through Monday of the Thanksgiving weekend, though it noted these are preliminary figures.

Shopping intentions for Cyber Monday are the highest they have been in three years, with roughly 18 percent of consumers planning to continue the Thanksgiving shopping weekend. And of those U.S. adults who shopped through Friday, and bought consumer electronics, more than half did so online (55 percent).

This represents a 10-percentage point increase over last year's online shopping statistics and sets a new record, according to interim results from the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) annual Black Friday Survey.

"Consumers appear to have responded to retailers' strong push to get them in the stores and online early this year," Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research, said in a statement. "The dust is still settling, but early indications point to a weekend of record-breaking online sales and a healthy appetite for key tech products."

Among the 35 percent who bought a consumer electronics (CE) product through the weekend, more than any other CE device, they purchased tablets (29 percent), as predicted by the organization's Pre-Black Friday Survey.

Headphones (24 percent), video game hardware (21 percent), smartphones (19 percent) and laptop/notebook computers (17 percent) were the next most commonly purchased CE products during the first two days of the holiday weekend.

Once again, tech was second only to clothes as the most popular item purchased on this weekend, with toys rounding out the top three. Through Friday, 66 percent of those shopping purchased clothing, 35 percent bought electronics and 32 percent bought toys.

CEA predicts 126 million U.S. adults will have shopped through the Monday of the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend, though the report noted these are just preliminary figures culled from a survey of 622 adults age 18 or older living in the United States.

According to recent surveys by RetailMeNot, a digital coupon provider, and The Omnibus Company, nearly 9 in 10 (86 percent) working consumers plan to spend at least some time shopping or browsing online for gifts during work hours this Cyber Monday.

The survey found that 25 percent of working Americans plan to actually spend 4 hours or more shopping online for gifts during work hours that day, and nearly one in four (24 percent) winter holiday gift givers plan to do more online shopping for gifts this year than they did last year.

According to the survey, the top categories typically purchased on Cyber Monday are electronics (62 percent), entertainment (59 percent) and apparel (51 percent).

Nearly half (46 percent) of winter holiday gift givers surveyed are likely to use a mobile device when shopping for the holiday season this year, and males are more likely than females (52 percent versus 40 percent) to use a mobile device when shopping this winter holiday season.