updated 07:40 am EST, Mon December 20, 2010
comScore says iPad driving holiday sales
iPads and e-readers were the key factors in holiday sales this year, comScore found on Monday. The computer hardware category jumped 25 percent compared to last year owed chiefly to Apple as well as a mix of e-paper devices like the Kindle and Nook; notebooks may also have played a role. Overstock of TVs hurt Best Buy but helped the consumer electronics category grow 22 percent by forcing price drops on LCD and plasma sets.
Other categories of gifts of all kinds grew more slowly, including paper reading (21 percent), non-game software (16 percent) and toys (15 percent).
Much of the turnabout may have come from many retailers offering a free shipping day this past Friday, December 17. Sales between November 1 and Friday were only up 12 percent as a whole, but Friday's sales were up 61 percent to $942 million. The spike rivaled the $1.03 billion in Cyber Monday and suggested that some may have been waiting until the last minute for iPads and other devices. Apple has been offering free next-day shipping towards the end of the season from its own store and may have been matched by others.
Researchers didn't break down tablets or other individual categories, including by manufacturer, but it's believed the iPad will have taken the vast majority of tablet sales this year. Its share may drop in 2011, but the near universal requirement for 3G data plans with the Samsung Galaxy Tab may affect its holiday sales since few gift givers could afford to pay for a tablet data plan.