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CE Sales Surged Over Black Friday Weekend


Deep discounts
on TVs, laptops,
Blu-ray Disc players and
low-end tablets led to a
banner Black Friday weekend
for CE.

Adam Levin, CEO of
Levin Consulting, estimated
that weekend sales
of consumer electronics
were up between 8 percent
and 10 percent from
last year, based on his
team’s on-site observations
at a statistically significant
200-plus stores.

“We saw crowds buying
CE at traffic levels that
were easily the highest of
the last five years,” he noted
in a Black Friday recap
for clients.

The reports were supported
by The NPD Group,
which found that CE enjoyed
the largest share
gain of any major product category on Black Friday.
According to the market research firm’s Anatomy of
Black Friday Study, CE share increased 23.8 percent
the day after Thanksgiving, from a 19.7 share in 2010
to a 24.4 share this past Nov. 25.

All told, nearly half of all shoppers bought technology
products over the holiday weekend, the Consumer
Electronics Association (CEA) reported, making it the
second most coveted category after clothing. And, according
to NPD, more than 23 percent of shoppers
purchased some type of electronics product on Black
Friday, 15 percent more than last year and 50 percent
above toys, which was the third most popular category.

“Mature product categories such as televisions,
digital cameras and MP3 players fared well [Black Friday] weekend as unprecedented price points proved
too tempting for shoppers to ignore,” noted CEA chief economist and research director Shawn DuBravac.

Indeed, 61 percent of shoppers polled in a CEA
Black Friday survey described the deals and sales as
good or excellent, and more so in stores (60 percent)
than online (35 percent).

The data were mirrored in the NPD study, which
found that almost 65 percent of tech purchasers were
driven into stores or online because “they saw what
they really wanted on sale,” observed the firm’s industry
analysis VP Stephen Baker.

Levin agreed. “Deals were strong, consumers were
willing, and as a result, CE sales skyrocketed,” he said.

NPD also attributed the gains to earlier store openings.
Half of all CE buyers shopped doorbuster sales
between midnight and 3 a.m., a huge increase from
last year’s 13 percent, while more than 28 percent of, the shopping trips by CE buyers began
on Thanksgiving evening and continued
to 3 a.m. on Friday, up from 5
percent in 2010.

“A confluence of factors kept consumer
electronics top of mind during
Black Friday,” said Baker. “The Black
Friday promotional period expanding,
the continuing focus on electronics in
advertising and sales messaging, and
the popularity of the category in general
have helped to make Black Friday
the consumer electronics shopping

Which tech categories were consumers
clamoring for? Leading the
charge was TV, which surpassed computers
as the most popular CE category
excluding games, Baker said. Nearly
6 percent of all Black Friday shoppers
walked out with a new set, a 36 percent
increase from 2010.

The findings were supported by
PriceGrabber, the comparison shopping
site, which cited “55-inch LED
TV” as the No. 1 search within tech,
toys and clothing on Black Friday, followed
by “PlayStation3,” “Xbox 360,” “Eos Rebel T3i” and “iPod Touch fourthgeneration

Other weekend winners, Levin said,
included gaming low-end notebooks,
headphones, tablets, e-readers,
low-priced soundbars and anything
Apple. In addition, gaming systems
were “red hot, with Best Buy, Target,
Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us all beating

According to NPD, sales of video
game consoles and software surged
35 percent on Black Friday, followed
by tablets at 34 percent. But the day’s
biggest gainer was smartphones, with
sales growth of 85 percent year over
year, Baker noted.

Levin also cited two Black Friday “surprises”:
TV’s staying power and the resurgence
of DVDs. “TV was strong all
weekend long, starting with the doorbusters
late Thursday night and extending
into higher-end sets the rest of the
weekend,” he observed. “Again, the focus
was on value, not on technology —
3D was not the hot button.”

Similarly, great deals by retailers led to
better-than-projected sales of DVDs and
other pre-recorded media, which he described
as an otherwise “dead category.”

Levin added that sustained sales
of higher-end TVs along with smartphones,
notebooks and tablets after the
initial doorbuster rush was “a great sign
for the season, as they contribute to increases
in traffic and revenue. Coupled
with Apple products, e-readers and
headphones, the industry has a large
number of products that are high up on
the holiday wish lists.”