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Consumers to Spend Nearly $44 Billion on Holiday Gifts This Weekend, According to CEA

Consumers will spend $43.7 billion on holiday gifts this Thanksgiving weekend with nearly 70 million U.S. adults shopping on Black Friday, according to interim results from the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA)® annual Black Friday Survey, which examines shopping habits, intentions and expectations Thanksgiving Day through Monday, November 26. CEA predicts 120 million U.S. adults will shop during the 2012 Thanksgiving weekend.

The average U.S. consumer who shopped or planned to shop will spend $365 on gifts this weekend. CEA’s 19th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, released October 16, 2012, found that consumers plan to spend a total of $842 on all gifts this holiday season.

The most popular day to shop this Thanksgiving weekend was Black Friday, with 29 percent of U.S. adults (69.6 million) indicating they shopped or planned to shop that day. Last year, 27 percent of adults shopped on Black Friday. Saturday was expected to be the next busiest day of the weekend, according to CEA’s survey, with 21 percent of adults planning to shop. Shopping on Thanksgiving Day also was up this year. Slightly more than 31 million adults (13 percent) shopped on Thanksgiving, up from 11 percent of U.S. adults last year.

“Shopping is the true American pastime and Black Friday and the days around Thanksgiving are the Super Bowl, World Series and March Madness all rolled into one for shoppers looking for bargains,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. “Consumers plan to use the entire weekend to get a jump start on their holiday shopping to take full advantage of all the deals and discounts.”

Consumer electronics (CE) once again was second only to clothes as the most popular items purchased this weekend. Through Friday, 63 percent of those shopping purchased clothing and 47 percent bought electronics. Of those who shopped or planned to shop, more than a third (34 percent) of their total spending will be on electronics with ten percent of all shoppers saying they only purchased or only planned to purchase CE products this weekend.

Mobile connected devices were the most popular electronics purchased through Friday. Among those buying CE, more than a quarter (26 percent) bought a smartphone and 22 percent bought a tablet Thursday or Friday. Headphones (25 percent), portable media players (22 percent) and video game consoles (20 percent) were the next most commonly purchased CE products during the first two days of the long weekend. Other popular CE purchased included e-readers, TVs, digital cameras and accessories.

“CEA’s holiday research has consistently shown technology is dominating wish lists so it comes as no surprise that technology stole the show over the weekend,” said DuBravac.

The survey found mass merchants were the most popular shopping destination, both overall and for CE products, on Black Friday. Through Friday, 62 percent of consumers doing at least some of their shopping did so at mass merchants. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) say they shopped at a consumer electronics retailer. Among consumers choosing to buy CE in stores on Thursday or Friday, 80 percent did so at a mass merchant. Overall, 82 percent of those buying technology bought something in the store. However, through Friday, 39 percent of CE buyers purchased some electronics online. More than two-thirds of shoppers (68 percent) said stores were as crowded or more crowded than last year, with 25 percent saying they were more crowded. Three-quarters of those who shopped Thursday and Friday said the deals were good to excellent this year.

Cyber Monday will also be a popular day to shop this year. Roughly 35 percent of U.S. adults plan to spend money on holidays gifts with about 16 percent of all spending, on average, taking place on Monday. Roughly 13 percent of consumers (31 million) plan to shop on Cyber Monday.

CEA will host an analyst call with Shawn DuBravac tomorrow, Sunday, November 25 at Noon ET/9am PT. To participate in that call, please dial 1-866-214-0726. The passcode is 794838. On the call, DuBravac will discuss highlights from Black Friday, including how much money consumers spent, what they purchased and where they shopped. DuBravac also will discuss, in more detail, the impact of the fiscal cliff on holiday shopping. For more information, email Steve Kidera at skidera@CE.org. CEA also will host a webinar on Tuesday, November 27 at 2pm ET/11am PT. For more information and to register, click here.

CEA’s Black Friday Survey presents the interim findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples, which, when combined consist of 508 adults, 247 men and 261 women 18-years of age and older, living in the continental United States. The initial interviews were completed on November 23, 2012. Additional data is available with final figures available Monday, November 26. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®.

About CEA:

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $206 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.DeclareInnovation.com and through social media: https://www.facebook.com/#!/CEAfeed, http://twitter.com/ceafeed, http://blog.ce.org/.

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