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Black Friday Watch: Best Buy Offering Free Holiday Shipping Starting Sunday

Best Buy is throwing down the holiday gauntlet by offering free shipping on all online orders beginning Oct. 25, and by staging special in-store seasonal events in select locations next month.

The free-shipping offer runs through Jan. 2, 2016, and raises the bar from last year’s $35 minimum order to qualify.

Another new tool in Best Buy’s online arsenal is the addition of a live-chat feature to its mobile app, dubbed BlueAssist.

The retailer will also offer free Geek Squad setup on select products as part of its holiday strategy. A list of qualifying items will be posted on Nov. 1 at

The in-store holiday events will be held in 400 stores on Nov. 7, and will include free gifts; robot and virtual reality demos by Geek Squad staff; Black Friday-like deals; and a chance to win one of five $1,000 Best Buy gift cards via a Twitter sweepstakes. A list of participating stores will be posted at on Oct. 29.

Separately, Best Buy released the findings of a holiday survey conducted last month by Research Now and Best Buy Enterprise Research. Among the top reveals:

*CE is the gift most-preferred by millennials (ages 18-34).

* Three times as many men prefer tech gifts as do women (27.9 percent to 9.7 percent).

*An iPad is the most-wished for CE gift.

Here’s the complete Top 15 ranking of most desired CE:

Best Buy’sTop 15 Tech Gifts For 2015

1. iPad

2. Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling headphones

3. MacBook

4. Samsung 48-inch smart 4K Ultra HD TV

5. Sharp 43-inch smart HDTV with Roku

6. Microsoft Surface

7. Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II

8. Fitbit Charge HR heart rate and activity tracker

9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

10. Dyson V6 Absolute Bagless cordless vacuum

11. Vizio 43-inch smart 4K Ultra HD TV

12. Apple Watch

13. Sonos Play:1 wireless speaker

14. iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaning robot

15. GoPro Hero4 action cam