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Holiday 2016 Wrap-Up: The Beat Goes On

Bruce goes shopping; Trump revises holiday haul 12/27/2016 10:45:00 AM Eastern
Take Away

More than 72 percent of Amazon customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday.

While Christmas 2016 is now but a fond memory, the book has yet to be closed on the holiday selling season.

According to a poll commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry trade group, 48 percent of U.S. consumers are planning to hit the stores this week to return gifts, redeem gift cards and shop those after-Christmas sales, up from 47 percent last year.

(Unfortunately, some of those shopping trips hit back yesterday, as brawls broke out in at least 15 malls across the country.)

In addition, 44 percent of the 6,890 Americans polled said they planned to shop online post-Christmas, up from 43 percent last year.

The survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, showed that millennials are most inclined to join the after-Christmas crowd, with about eight in 10 still planning to shop.

Their post-holiday forays follow a last-minute scramble for gifts last week, when an estimated 20 percent of consumers were still shopping on Christmas Eve — with many retailers only too happy to accommodate them.

See: Holiday 2016: It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Over

The procrastinators were in good company: According to the New York Post, Bruce Springsteen was spotted picking up some last-minute presents at a J. Crew store in the fashionable Grove strip mall in Shrewsbury, N.J., on Dec. 24.

Chances are better than even that tech products were also on The Boss’s naughty-or-nice list. According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), people’s propensity to buy tech devices jumped 11.3 points this month, to a score of 89.1 on the trade group’s Consumer Technology Expectations index.

The increase came as no surprise to CTA chief economist Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D. “We’ve seen a healthy appetite for tech over the course of the 2016 holiday season thanks to a strong performance for perennial strongholds,” he noted. “That includes strong sales of televisions over Black Friday week and increasing interest in — even selling out of — emerging categories such as digital assistant devices, drones and VR headsets.”

That couldn’t be truer than for Amazon, which sold out of its Echo and Echo Dot wireless digital assistant speakers by mid-December. “Despite our best efforts and ramped-up production, we still had trouble keeping them in stock,” acknowledged Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s worldwide consumer CEO.

Echo Dot in particular is the e-tailer’s best-selling, most gifted item of the year, fueling a nine-fold increase in Echo family sales and contributing to what the company described as its best holiday season ever.

Interestingly, the vast majority of those sales were made via smartphone or tablet rather than desktop, as more than 72 percent of Amazon’s customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday, the company noted.

Other top seasonal sellers for Amazon included:

*Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear earbud headphones

*AmazonBasics 6-outlet surge protector power strip;

*Sonos Play:1 compact wireless smart speaker

*SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC UHS-I card with adapter;

*Seagate expansion 1TB portable external hard drive USB 3.0;

*AmazonBasics mini display port (Thunderbolt) to HDMI adapter;

*Garmin vivofit fitness band and vívoactive HR GPS smart watch; and

*Samsung Gear VR headset, wireless charging pad and 32-inch and 40-inch 1080p smart TVs.

Amazon also sold more than its fair share of 4K models, with customers purchasing enough UHD TVs to reach the peak of Mount Everest more than nine times, the e-tailer said.

All told, the NRF is forecasting a 3.6 percent increase in November and December retail sales, to $655.8 billion, which is significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent in holiday-season gains.

In a tweet, President-elect Donald Trump took credit for the jump, and pegged Christmas spending at more than $1 trillion.

Take Away

More than 72 percent of Amazon customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday.

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