A week after Black Friday, the holiday shopping season is well underway. What do Americans want from Santa in 2013? Here's what last weekend's top 10 products, compiled by the shopping site PriceGrabber.com, can tell us about what family and friends want to see under this year's Christmas tree.
TVs. Almost half of this year's top 10 Black Friday products on PriceGrabber's list were TVs. While the mobile device market is divided among phones, tablets and laptops, it's harder to argue with the appeal of a really, really big screen - the smallest display on the list was as wide as many kindergartners are tall - and the diameter of the largest, at 65 inches, exceeds the height of the average American woman. Brandwise, Samsung remains strong, with its 6400 Series 40-inch LED TV and 65 inch class HDTV placing on the list. Vizio and LG were also popular, and all four top TV models are LED flatscreens.
Tablets. Mobile products remain dominant, but tablets - rather than, say, the iPhone or Android - are this year's undisputed king. Two versions of Apple's iPad won out: the 9.7-inch iPad Air and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, both with 16 GB of storage. The two products are currently at peak buzz, having been released just last month. The iPad Air is touted as lighter and more streamlined than previous tablets, while the iPad mini is an update of a product released last year. Reviewers laud its improved display resolution, although many are raising eyebrows at the products' premium price.
Competing tablets produced by Amazon and Samsung, among other brands, sold more modestly. iPods and notebook laptops, which were ubiquitous on such lists as recently as 2011, are notably absent. Dell's Inspiron touchscreen laptop, the tablet-like properties of which are emphasized in every commercial, was the closest thing on the PriceGrabber list to a traditional computer.
Games. Game consoles are a perennial favorite, but this year's list included only one: the PlayStation 4 Black 500 GB, rather than the Xbox, Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo consoles that made the cut in 2011 and 2012. Like the top-selling tablets, the PS4 was released in mid-November. With a number of new games released and on the horizon, it's a big gift that sets the stage for a range of stocking stuffers.
Shoes. Mixed in among all the technology on PriceGrabber's list were two kinds of men's New Balance athletic shoes - gym-going season is next on the docket, after all. Men's Health and other outlets rank the brand highly in terms of weight and support, especially for runners.
As holiday shopping continues over the next few weeks, savvy buyers should keep an eye on the tech reviews to see which of these favorites gets the highest consumer ratings - the buzz surrounding a popular product can change over the course of December as early adopters try it out en masse. And whether your Black Friday purchases helped make this list or you haven't yet started your shopping, we wish you holiday happiness and maybe an enormous TV.
Matthew Ong is a senior retail analyst at NerdWallet.com, a consumer price comparison website.
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