Early Warning on the Top 10 Holiday Items

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RetailersThe opening weekend to this year’s holiday shopping season has come and gone, but retailers and shoppers alike continue to pay close attention to number crunchers and trend watchers as they gauge spending patterns and the season’s “hottest” buys. 

The National Retail Federation reports that shoppers in America spent more than $52 billion on Black Friday weekend, up from $45 billion last year. And an online retail study conducted by IBM shows that this year’s Cyber Monday spending increased by 33.0 percent from 2010. With the tally at $1.25 billion, it was the heaviest online spending day in U.S. history.

IBM’s online retail study is part of its “Smarter Commerce” initiative to help business partners take advantage of market opportunities created by shifting buying patterns brought on by mobile and social computing.

Spending figures for the weekend also included the highest selling products nationwide. Shoppers who are still on the prowl may want to compare their own “To Buy” lists with this early-warning buying trend and try to get their hands on items in demand before they’re sold out.  Here’s a Top 10 list, based on a review of several retail reports on Black Friday Weekend-Cyber Monday spending. 

1.    Apple iPad. After the initial incentive of a discounted price, consumers flocked to stores around the country to buy Apple’s Ipad 2. Additional discounted or eliminated shipping and handling charges helped to boost of sales to open the holiday shopping season.

2.    Amazon Kindle. Recently named “the bestselling product across all of Amazon since its introduction 8 weeks ago,” by Amazon, sales of the Kindle Fire multiplied in stores nationwide this Black Friday weekend, with many stores selling out of the item. Target stores reported that this was the most sought-after item in the majority of their retail stores next to the iPad 2.

3.    Apple iPhone 4S. With more than 4 million units sold in its opening weekend, steady demand for this item has continued since its release in October and shows no sign of relinquishing its strong hold on the mobile market.

4.    iPods and iPod accessories. Since its induction into the market in 2001, the iPod has become the premier item for virtually every music listener. One can almost guarantee that this item will be on this “Top 10” list for years to come—until there is another revolution in personal music storage.

5.    Game station consoles. Of the three current major gaming consoles (Wii, PS3, and X-Box 360), the X-box and PS3 are the premier systems. Sales of both rose  this year with the release of titles such as Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, and Call of Duty- Modern Warfare 3. The upgrades of Playstation’s voice- and body-operated “Move” and X-box’s “Connect” are hot.

6.    Flat screen televisions. With options like LCD/LED  versus Plasma, 3D, and screens so large they may not even fit into the buyer’s home, many consumers are taking advantage of the price slashing that retailers are implemented in order to move these products. Companies like Target and Best Buy offered 20 percent to 40 percent off TVs, while others like Wal-Mart boasted a minimum $200 savings on virtually every large (19” or greater) flat screen.          

7.    Bargain-priced appliances. Customers are finally able to purchase larger or more costly appliances at sale/discount prices from retailers like Sears and Home Depot.

8.    Digital cameras. Popular brands like Canon, Olympus and Nikon offer mega pixels, higher resolution, and greater clarity at some of the lowest prices of the year.

9.    Blip Toys Squinkies Bubble Pack. This product has become the children’s toy for 2011. Not expected to trend by next holiday season, Squinkies are, simply put, gumball machine toys with fancy names and new packaging from China.

10.    Clothing. As reported by Forbes Magazine on Monday, department stores saw substantial gains in their stock prices from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events. J.C. Penney shares were up 2.2 percent at $30.25, and Macy’s shares were up 5.5 percent at $31.07.