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shopping_1124RISMEDIA, November 24, 2009—Black Friday may kick-off the holiday shopping season, but not everybody’s out to buy gifts. Of the half of Americans who plan on shopping in stores or online over the Black Friday weekend, 66% say they’ll be shopping for themselves according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll.

The day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday, is not the only important shopping day of the holiday weekend. While 28% of adults plan to shop in-stores on Black Friday, just as many (29%) say they’ll be shopping on Saturday or Sunday afterwards. Overall, half (53%) of adults expect the deals to be just as good in-stores as online this year.

The Black Friday weekend shopping list for consumers includes clothing (71%) and electronics (70%), with video games and accessories (46%) being the most popular electronic items. More than half of shoppers (56%) are planning to purchase toys and a little less than half (48%) are planning to purchase gift cards. Most of these items are intended to be purchased as gifts; however, the items where shoppers have the highest intent to self indulge are food or wine, electronics and clothing.

“The inner-shopper comes out in all of us around this time of year,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. “Retailers are doing everything they can to entice shoppers by offering not only Black Friday bargains but deals for the entire weekend.”

In High Demand: Gizmos and Gadgets
Electronics are hot items of choice for Black Friday weekend. According to Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll, 70% of shoppers plan to purchase electronics, making them a close second behind clothing (71%). Out of that 70%, three out of four (78%) will be purchasing electronics as a gift, while over half (55%) will also be gifting a new gadget for themselves. The electronics items consumers are looking to purchase include video games or accessories (46%), MP3 players or iPods (22%), video game systems (21%), laptops (20%), digital cameras (16%), and flat panel TVs (13%).

Flat-Panel TV Purchases
Flat panel TVs continue to be one of the top electronic gifts shoppers look to grab each season. This year, about one-in-five adults (21%) plan to purchase one either during or after the holidays. More adults are considering purchasing a flat screen after the holidays (15%) than during them (9%).

When it comes to TVs, size matters. Over half (57%) of consumers considering purchasing flat screen TVs are looking at screens 40 inches or larger, which is up from last year when only 47% were considering these larger sizes. Men tend to gravitate towards larger-screened TVs, with 68% of them likely to buy a TV with a screen size of 40-inches or more compared to 46% of women.

Some of the reasons adults are considering purchasing a new flat panel TV include getting better picture quality or HD picture quality (77%), getting a TV that takes up less space (71%), replacing an older TV that is not a flat screen (70%), adding a flat screen TV to another room (36%), replacing an older flat screen TV (20%), or to have it for a major sporting event like the Super Bowl (31%).

Gifts: A Timely Affair
“Consumers are determined to get as much value as they can for their money these days,” said Greg Daugherty, Consumer Reports executive editor. “That means they are willing to put in extra time comparison shopping.”

On average, consumers estimate they will spend 13 hours shopping for gifts this holiday season. The past two years, it was estimated to take about 11 hours.

Over the past four holiday seasons, about three-quarters of married women reported they do at least 75% of their household’s gift shopping, with about 4 in 10 married women doing all of it.

Once the gifts are purchased, consumers estimate gift wrapping will take 2.3 hours. More than a third (37%) of consumers estimate they will spend three or more hours gift wrapping. Women (48%) are twice as likely as men (24%) to devote this amount of time.

The Holiday Shopping Cycle
As of November 8th, 36% of consumers have started their holiday gift shopping. Looking back over the last three years, the number of adults who started shopping by early November is trending downward, decreasing slightly each year from 45% in 2006.

What’s In the Box?
Most adults want their gifts to be a surprise. Three-quarters (75%) of adults said they love to be surprised and less than a quarter (21%) want to know what they are getting.

For more information, visit www.consumerreports.org.

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