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CTA Says Record Number of Consumers Looking to Buy Tech on Black Friday

It looks like tech companies and service providers may clean up more than usual this holiday season.

According to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a record 116 million Americans – or nearly half the U.S. population – are planning to pick up tech products or accessories during Black Friday Week. That figure is up ten percentage points from previous years, CTA said.

“By all accounts, the 2016 Black Friday Week looks like it will be a record breaker for tech,” Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association, said. “Even with delayed promotions from retailers and manufacturers, and signs of pre-election uncertainty, we expect consumer enthusiasm for technology purchases during the holidays to be higher than ever.”

In the week from the Monday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday (November 21-28), the top ten products consumers are planning to buy include Televisions, laptops, smartphones, game consoles, and tablets. Tech accessories and wearables also make the list for most sought after products.

Additionally, CTA predicted strong sales for other emerging technologies like drones, virtual reality headsets, and 4k Ultra High-Definition TVs. The group said it expects around 700,000 VR headsets will be sold during the 2016 holiday season, along with 1.2 million drones and 4.5 million 4K UHD TVs.

“Outside of the tech perennials – TVs, laptops, smartphones – expect to see front page circular deals from a variety of retailers on emerging products including drones, virtual reality, and digital assistant devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home,” DuBravac noted. “On average, half of the unit volume of newer, emerging categories sells in the fourth quarter alone – a promising indicator for these new and innovative products.”

And U.S. wireless carriers are already positioning themselves to take advantage of the holiday rush.

T-Mobile said it will offer customers a free Samsung Galaxy S7 via 24 months of bill credits when they trade in a Galaxy S6, Galaxy Note 5, or other device. It is also offering a Free Gear VR and $50 Oculus app store gift card to customers who get a Galaxy S7 – including the free one – as well as a free Samsung Tab E or LG Gpad X with a T-Mobile One tablet plan. There will also be offers for discounts on wireless speakers, Bluetooth headsets, and a power station, T-Mobile said.

Sprint has also shown its cards with a Buy-One-Get-One deal for the Samsung Galaxy S7, an offer of a free Galaxy Tab E with the purchase of a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, a half-off discount on the HTC Bolt, and a free 4k TV with the purchase of LG’s G5 or V20 smartphones.

But not all of the expected sales will translate to in-store traffic.

Out of 180 million U.S. adults who are planning to shop more generally during Black Friday Week, 46 percent said they are planning to shop online, CTA said. Out of online shoppers, 70 percent said they’re planning to use a mobile device to do so.

Source: Wireless Week

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