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Consumers Surprise: Black Friday Bargain Hunters Aim for Big Tix Electronics

Shoppers surprised retail experts and hunted for big ticket items this Black Friday.

Expectations that consumers would confine spending to modestly priced electronics on Black Friday might to be unsound, according to Black Friday search data from a major price comparison website.

Topping the list of items searched for by consumers this Black Friday is the Samsung UN 55-inch 1080p LED TV, which sells for over $1000, according to PriceGrabber.com.

"Leading up to today, the price points of the products searched for were much lower," PriceGrabber General Manager Graham Jones told PCWorld. "It seems like people were waiting until today to buy the more expensive items."

"From Monday through Wednesday, we were seeing searches for $300, $400, items," he added, "so I was surprised to see that our most popular product is over $1000. That isn't consistent with trends we saw earlier in the year."

He explained that surveys conducted by the company prior to Black Friday indicated that people would be spending less money and that 60 percent of them would be spending it on clothing and lower ticket items. "Today, we're not seeing that trend," he said. "We're seeing people opening up their wallets and spending like other years."

Game consoles are also popular today, with the PlayStation 3 Slim 160 gigabyte ($130) and Xbox 3604GB with Kinect ($207) appearing just behind the LED TV on the list of top products.

While Apple's iPad continues to show strength among shoppers on Black Friday, it's being topped by the 16GB Toshiba Thrive ($375) among PriceGrabber searchers. "I'm a little surprised that's at the top of the list," Jones confessed.

Among computer searchers, Apple has the top two spots with its 13.3-inch, Intel i5 MacBook Pros with 500MB and 300MB hard drives.

Shoppers are using their mobile phones more this year than last to comparison shop, Jones added. Among the top product searches from mobiles are the PlayStation 3 Slim, 8GB 4th generation iPod Touch and, of course, the 55-inch LED TV.

Leading up to Black Friday, activity at PriceGrabber has been slightly higher than last year by about one or two percent, Jones noted, but Black Friday's activity is similar to last year.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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