iPad Scores Big for Black Friday Retailers

| Analysis

Apple's iPad was the big seller on Black Friday at Walmart, Best Buy and Target. iPad models were the top sellers at both Walmart and Target, while at Best Buy it was outsold by Microsoft's Surface tablet, according to data from InfoScout.

Apple's iPad was the popular purchase over the Thanksgiving HolidayApple's iPad was the popular purchase over the Thanksgiving Holiday

The research firm followed the purchases of 50,000 in-store shoppers for last Thursday and Friday. Thursday was the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, followed by Black Friday which is a huge holiday shopping day.

According to the company's research, the iPad mini was the top seller at Walmart, which is exactly what the retailer said on Monday. Walmart said it sold 1.4 million tablet devices on Thursday and Friday, and that more than 22 million people visited its stores on Thanksgiving Day.

The 16GB iPad mini topped Walmart's sales list, followed by a 60-inch Visio television and HP's 14-inch Pavilion laptop. The iPad mini made up 6.5 percent of Walmart's Black Friday sales, which is fairly substantial considering the volume of sales the company handels every day.

At Target, the 16GB iPad Air was the top seller, followed by the 16GB iPad mini and 32GB iPad Air. Apple's iPad lineup accounted for 18 percent of Target's sales.

Best Buy sales offered up an interesting twist with Microsoft's 32GB Surface tablet coming in as the holiday's best seller, followed by the 16GB iPad 2. The third place slot went to Amazon's 16GB Kindle Fire.

The big surprise isn't that the iPad didn't take the top spot across all three retailers, it's that Microsoft's Surface tablet actually sold enough units to best the iPad at any of stores. So far, the Surface hasn't been well received by consumers and has been the cause of significant quarterly write offs for the company.

Outselling the iPad, however, isn't necessarily a sign that Microsoft is catching up in the tablet game. Depending on store inventories, it may be that there simply weren't any iPad Air or Retina Display iPad minis to be had in Best Buy. If so, the 32GB Surface tablet could look enticing compared to the years old iPad 2 model that clearly was available.

Best Buy's sales numbers actually look worse for Amazon. The company's Kindle Fire was outsold not only by Microsoft's struggling tablet, but wasn't even as popular as a four generation old iPad model that costs $200 more.

For Apple, Thanksgiving and Black Friday iPad sales figures show the iPad is popular among consumers both online and in retail stores. This year, it looks like the iPad mini is the must have holiday gift.

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Lee Dronick

I took a walk after Thanksgiving dinner. It was evening and Best Buy was open so went in just to poke around. There were quite a few people around the iPad display, but I didn’t notice if they were buying or not. All departments were busy with shoppers, the parking lot was overflowing. I drove by on Friday and the parking lot was again full.

I bought an iPad mini on Friday at the Apple Online Store. They estimated delivery by the 20th, but it will be here this Thursday. Of course she won’t get until Christmas.


I went to my local Staples store to grab a cover for my iPad Air that I got at Target last friday (because Target’s iPad area had been completely depleted of EVERYTHING at 10 am). And sure enough, the Staples iPad area didn’t look any better than Target’s, but at least they had a few cases remaining…

And while choosing a color I overheard a conversation behind me that went like this:
- So you got any iPads, I mean big ones?
- Well… we do have 64 gig in black and 128 gigs in both colours remaining…
- Ouch!
- I know… We do have SurfaceTwos though…

I didn’t follow up on it has they went to the Surface area (I didn’t really care), but a side glance while waiting in line at the register showed the customer listening fairly intently to the clerk’s pitch about the product… So who knows?

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