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Will Thanksgiving Day upstage Black Friday for online tech sales?

Bob Brown | Nov. 18, 2011
Best Buy, Target, Sears, Staples and other major retailers have been releasing their Black Friday ads and circulars for the past week, setting up for what should be a busy shopping day for TVs, laptops, tablets and other electronics. But savvy shoppers who can negotiate time away from the family, turkey and football on Thanksgiving Day itself could also score bargains.

Brim acknowledges not being an expert on tablets such as the iPad or Motorola Xoom, and says there will be deals to be had, but prices have already come down on many products as vendors attempt to make a dent in Apple's market share. He's seeing more action on the e-reader front, such as a Target ad for a Kindle Keyboard 3G at $85, way down from the typical $140 price tag at Amazon. This year should again offer many bargains on HD TVs and laptop computers. One thing he's noticed is that the TV deals are for both lesser-known names (a 24-inch Dynex LCD for $80 at Best Buy) and bigger brand names (a 42-inch Sharp LCD set for $200 at Best Buy). "It's kind of doubly overwhelming to have good TV deals and brand names," he says.

The other interesting twist this holiday shopping season is that buying via mobile devices is expected to take off, including by shoppers who plan to use their device while in a store (IBM recently issued survey findings about this). Mobile ad network InMobi this week said it has found that some 21 million mobile device users plan to make purchases directly from their handset over the upcoming holiday weekend. Price comparison shopping on mobile devices is expected to more than double from a year ago, according to the study based on 907 mobile users.

Anne Frisbie, vice president and managing director for North America at InMobi, said in a statement: "The study highlights that mobile is cannibalizing desktop shopping and shows that mobile devices will be a critical tool in all facets of shopping this holiday season. It will be ubiquitous both in the store and online, and successful brands and advertisers have a tremendous opportunity to differentiate themselves by creating an exceptional mobile experience."

Retailers last year cranked up their social media efforts via Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and the like to entice shoppers to make online or in-store purchases. This year should be even more intense.


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