TVs, tablets and games consoles help Walmart break Black Friday records

U.S. shoppers have been out in force: Walmart has already announced record-breaking sales for Black Friday 2013, with tech gifts such as the iPad mini, Xbox One and PS4 leading the way. We’re still only part-way through the actual day itself, of course, but now that many sales start on Thanksgiving Thursday Walmart has decided to release some of its figures early.

The store’s enthusiastic press release doesn’t go into great detail about the gadgets that have been shifted over the last few hours, though there are some interesting nuggets of data: bargain-hunters picked up 1.4m tablets, for example, and paid out for more than 2m television sets. To put that into perspective, Walmart sold 2.8m towels during the same time.

For online shoppers avoiding the crushes and the queues, hand-held video games and SLR digital cameras have been proving popular, though again Walmart doesn’t go into specifics about models or manufacturers. The company also mentioned laptops and Call of Duty Ghosts as being particularly popular on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Over 400m page views were registered on during Thanksgiving Day, presumably once the after-dinner conversation had dried up. “We said Black Friday is the Super Bowl of retail, we ran a play that only Walmart could deliver and our customers loved it,” boasted Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. in the official press release.

With many physical stores closed for Thanksgiving, online retailers have taken advantage by cutting the virtual ribbon on online sales a day early. According to data from IBM, online sales for Thanksgiving 2013 are up 19.7 percent on last year, with the average order value coming in at a hefty $127.59.

Mobile traffic from smartphones and tablets rose 32 percent to a total share of 42.6 percent, with tablet users spending more than smartphone users on average. New York took the top spot for online sales on Thursday, with Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. the other cities in the top five.

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