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Thanksgiving Outshines Black Friday; Tablets Tops

New York More than one-third of shoppers purchased CE products over Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a weekend survey shows, and the majority of them bought tablets.

According to the poll, conducted Friday and Saturday by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), 35 percent of U.S. adults who shopped on “Red Thursday” and Black Friday bought tech products. Of those, 29 percent purchased tablets; 24 percent ordered headphones; 21 percent bought video game hardware; 19 percent bought smartphones; and 17 percent purchased laptop and notebook computers.

What’s more, a record number of CE buyers – 55 percent – made their tech purchases online over Thanksgiving and Black Friday, up 10 percentage points from last year.

Thanksgiving Day shopping was also up sharply. CEA said nearly 39 million consumers shopped on turkey day, an increase of more than 10 million from last year, as more stores opened, and opened earlier, on the national holiday.

As a result, Thanksgiving sales siphoned off Black Friday shoppers, lowering Friday’s sales tally by 13.2 percent year-over-year, reported ShopperTrak.

However, combined Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales rose 2.3 percent, to an estimated $12.3 billion, the market research firm said.

“The Black Friday shopping experience is changing with more shoppers choosing to go out on Thanksgiving Day,” observed ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.

Retail store personnel agreed. Michael Rubino, general manager of a Best Buy in Holmdel, N.J., said the first wave of four planned sales events, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, drew the largest crowds. Tablets were the hottest item, he told TWICE, and despite reports of violence at a number of Walmart stores nationwide, the staggered sales at Best Buy contributed to what was “definitely the smoothest Black Friday I’ve ever run.”

Walmart acknowledged “some isolated incidents that were resolved quickly,” and told ABC News that despite drawing some 22 million shoppers within a four-hour period, Thanksgiving Day was “safer than ever.”

And bigger. The No. 1 retailer said it rang up 10 million transactions between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and sold 2 million TVs and 1.4 million tablets throughout the day. Other top sellers included laptops, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, the “Call of Duty Ghosts” video game title, Walmart reported, while online favorites included hand-held video games and SLR digital cameras, based on nearly 400 million PC and mobile page views on Thanksgiving.

Online sales will remain the focus today as retailers mount a further round of sales for so-called “Cyber Monday.” More than 131 million shoppers, or 54.8 percent of U.S. consumers, are expected to shop online today, up from 129 million last year, projected the National Retail Federation, which coined the term in 2005.