Best Buy in Burbank, Calif., draws 1,500 shoppers at midnight. They scoop up Microsoft XBox, e-readers, printers, laptops, and tablets, suggesting a 25 percent boost in annual sales for this Best Buy.
Jae C. Hong/AP
Door buster deals on giant flat screens — like a 42 inch Sharp TV for $199 drew about 1,500 people to line up for the store's midnight opening.
Of the two dozen people I talked to, everyone said they planned to spend more this year than last year: some said they were feeling better about the economy, others said the discounts were just too deep to pass up.
Though TVs were certainly a hot seller, a wide variety of items crowded shoppers' carts.
The store told us the single best selling item was a $199 Microsoft XBox 360 — it's sold nearly 300 of the consoles so far and they're still going fast. But e-readers, printers, and low-price laptops were also flying off shelves.
For many, Best Buy is one-stop holiday shopping, which could bode well for the chain. This year, sales at electronics specialty retailers are expected to grow 6 percent from last year. MasterCard Spending Pulse's Michael Mcnamara says that electronics are actually taking share away from traditional gift sectors.
One of the hottest new items is the tablet. The Asus Android tablet was on sale for $179. There were tons of Kindles on sale at Best Buy and Amazon said the Kindle Fire was its top-selling item today. But despite this competition and the fact that there are no discounts on Apple products, the iPad 2 is still expected to lock in 62 percent of the market share in its category during the holiday season.
Thanksgiving Day online sales were up 39%. We'll see whether that cannibalizes in-store sales or whether it means people are just shopping more, and earlier this year.
This particular Best Buy expects a 25% increase in sales over last year. If it hits those numbers that could mean their midnight opening would become an annual tradition.