Majority of ‘Black Friday’ shoppers will shop online this year

22 Nov 2011

The iPad 2 will be the most sought-after gadget on Black Friday

The busiest shopping day on the US calendar will be more of an online event than a physical store occasion this year, as 80pc of shoppers will hunt for bargains on the internet.

Recent weekly Nielsen surveys of shoppers show that, much like in 2010, the majority of consumers (80pc) are avoiding in-store Black Friday shopping.

While increased Black Friday promotions appeal to consumers’ desire for “hot deals,” as a shopping event, Black Friday is becoming less relevant in the retail world as online shopping grows and holiday promotions begin earlier and earlier in the year.

Some 35pc of those recently survey cited they’ve already started their holiday shopping.

This will be a holiday season polarised between those still feeling the recession and those who have begun to spend again.

This divide will greatly impact where consumers shop, what they buy and how much they spend.

Of those surveyed, 66pc plan to spend the same as they did in 2010. Thirty per cent plan to spend between US$500 and US$1,000 this season, with 50pc planning to spending between US$250 and US$500. Only 17pc of consumers said they planned to spend more than US$1,000.

Tech the halls

After clothing and apparel, topping the lists of those who are headed out to stores on Black Friday, is tech and consumer electronics.

No surprise, considering the presence of gadgets on the wish lists of most American kids.

As Black Friday and the holiday season approaches, Apple appears to be the consumer electronics brand to beat. A recent Nielsen survey shows kids’ holiday gaming and electronics appetites are whet by a number of top-selling Apple devices – with the iPad leading the pack.

Consistent with US kids’ 2010 wish lists, the Apple iPad is the most desired consumer electronic among kids ages 6-12 for holiday 2011. In fact, the iPad increases its stronghold, with nearly half (44pc) of kids expressing interest in the product, up from 31pc in 2010.

Two other popular Apple devices – iPod touch (30pc) and iPhone (27pc) – round out kids’ top 3, with computers and other tablet brands each appealing to a quarter of younger consumers.

Many kids will also ask for gaming devices this year, with two products that offer unique gaming technologies – Nintendo 3DS (25pc) and Kinect for Xbox 360 (23pc) – leading the way. Given the 3DS’ spring 2011 release date and the surge in Kinect interest versus last year (up from 14pc), parents can expect both devices to be frequently requested this holiday season.

Beyond these, older Nintendo DS models continue to resonate with young gamers (22pc), while the PlayStation 3 (17pc) and Xbox 360 (16pc) edge out the Nintendo Wii (11pc) as the most desired gaming consoles.

Among consumers ages 13 and older, appeal for the iPad (24pc) has also broadened relative to last year (18pc), and exceeds that of computers (18pc), 2010’s top item. Further, it appears the iPad has successfully paved the way for other tablet offerings, as a notable 17pc of adults/teens also express interest in non-Apple tablets.

E-Readers (18pc) also exhibit heightened appeal among teens and adults compared to last year (15pc), while gaming devices on the whole are somewhat less likely to be of interest to the 13+ crowd.

The exception is Kinect for Xbox 360, which appeals to 12pc of those ages 13+, compared to eight per cent in 2010; though, notably, last year’s data was collected prior to the product’s well-supported, large-scale launch on 4 November 2010.

Tech the Halls

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years