Shoppers were out in force during the week of Black Friday, but price cuts brought in less revenue than last year's recession-mired sales, according to a new report.
Retail analyst firm the NPD Group on Wednesday released its yearly accounting of technology sales during the week of Black Friday. More than $2.7 billion was spent on TVs, PCs, video game consoles, cameras, and more in the first burst of holiday shopping, but it represented a 1.2 percent decline compared to the same period a year ago. Still, it's better than the previous year's 3.4 percent decline.
Retailers will have to blame their discounting practices, since actual unit sales were way up in many categories: PC sales volume increased 63 percent, Blu-ray players were up 53 percent, and GPS units increased by 15 percent.
The battle over holiday pricing started even earlier than usual this year, with Amazon.com and Wal-Mart targeting the iPod, Nintendo Wii, HDTVs, and Netbooks with steep discounts, and in some cases, drastically lowered shipping charges.
But while retailers so far appear to be having a ho-hum season revenue-wise, there's still several weeks to go before the end of the quarter. And the biggest sellers, like Wal-Mart and Amazon, say that while Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important to their bottom line, their biggest sales days typically come mid-December.
By Erica Ogg