Technology purchases increased over the Black Friday weekend this year, according to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association.

About 51.2 million American adults, or 45 percent of all shoppers, bought or planned to buy consumer tech products during the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, said the CEA, the trade group for the consumer electronics industry. That happened even as overall shopping traffic was down compared to last year, the CEA said.

“Consumers’ appetite for purchasing technology products during the start of the holiday shopping season hit new highs this Thanksgiving weekend,” said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the CEA, in a statement. “We saw more shoppers putting tech in their baskets this holiday weekend — 45 percent — than in any of the last three years. Only clothing, at 69 percent, was more popular among consumers; and toys were again third, at 43 percent. This shows tech is poised to enjoy strong sales throughout the entire 2014 holiday season.”

Altogether, 113.2 million U.S. adults (46 percent of the population) shopped or plan to shop over the holiday weekend from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, down 18 million shoppers from 2013.

The CEA estimates Americans will spend $39.9 billion over the entire 2014 Thanksgiving shopping weekend. While the overall number of shoppers declined in 2014, consumers who shopped spent more. Those consumers spent an average of $371, a 4.8 percentage point increase over 2013.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday were once relatively independent shopping days, but they’ve expanded into a 10-day shopping period that encompass the days ahead of Black Friday as well,” said DuBravac. “A drop in shopping traffic over the holiday weekend is likely due to transactions being pulled forward, as retailers offer more deals in-store and online earlier in the week than in previous years.”

The most popular consumer electronics devices was the TV, purchased or intended to be purchased by 37 percent. Tablets came in second at 35 percent. Notebook computers were 23 percent, and portable wireless speakers were also at 23 percent.

“While televisions are always a popular item for shoppers during the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, consumers showed a remarkable appetite for them this year,” said DuBravac. “We’re in a ‘sweet spot’ for TV purchases. Consumer demand appears to be driven by three main factors: phenomenal deals across all TV categories, movement into a new upgrade cycle for consumers, and interest in new technologies such as 4K Ultra HD.”

About 45 percent made their purchases online, and 77 percent shopped in stores (down 10 percentage points from 2013). The CEA predicts that total tech spending will increase 2.5 percent during the entire holiday shopping season, up from 0.9 percent growth in 2013. Total tech sales are expected to reach $33.76 billion in the season.

Of the Americans who shopped online, 88 percent cited convenience as the top reason. About 78 percent wanted to avoid crowds, and 77 percent wanted to be able to compared deals online.

The CEA predicts that 30.1 million U.S. adults (12 percent) plan to shop on Cyber Monday, up 2.4 million shoppers over last year. Of those planning to shop online on Cyber Monday, most plan to shop for clothing (61 percent), followed by books or music (44 percent), tech or tech accessories (38 percent), and toys (38 percent).

The survey was conducted via the telephone with a random national sample of 2,008 U.S. adults between November 28 and 29, 2014.


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