Holiday shopping speculation

The holidays are fast approaching, which means consumers have begun the search for the perfect gifts.

The holidays are fast approaching, which means consumers have begun the search for the perfect gifts. Black Friday and Cyber Monday take place this week, and the market is already speculating about this season's top gifts. While the forecast for overall holiday spending is mixed, we took a look at what the online opinion leaders had to say when it comes to spending predictions and shopping patterns. Which gifts and holiday concerns are being discussed? Read on for details…

• The state of the economy is a hot topic – 24 percent of the influential online discussions around holiday shopping point to various forecasts on overall spending, including the BDO Seidman study which states that 15 percent of holiday revenues are generated on Black Friday, and 12 percent of online holiday internet sales occur on Cyber Monday. Much like the forecasts made by traditional media sources, the online influencers are mixed on their overall outlook on this season's spending.

• People want a bargain. 38 percent of holiday shopping conversations focus on where to find great deals and consumer shopping strategies. Big box retailers, like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, are hot topics given their discounts and deals during the holidays.

• The most influential blogs note that consumer electronics are the gift for adults this season. High definition televisions, with nearly 5,000 unique posts, and iPhones, with 4,374 unique posts, are the most popular adult gift ideas within the top online conversations, and GPS systems running third with 3,497 posts. But, the influencers also warn readers that there will be no clear winner between HD DVD and Blu-ray this season.

• What are the hottest kids toys this year? We looked at Toy Wishes Magazine's Hot Dozen list and compared it to what the influential blogs are saying. Our prediction, after some analysis, is that toys tied to the Internet and video games will be on top of many wish lists this year. The online influencers are buzzing about the following: Video game Guitar Hero III is the top of the list with more than 14,400 posts, and Barbie Girls comes in a distant second with 3,500 posts. Two toys on the Hot Dozen list, Rubik's Revolution and Nerf N-Strike Disc Shot, are the least popular within the blogosphere, with only 17 posts in the combined total. The Wii game system still reigns supreme among video consoles, and it scored more than 6,800 posts so far.

So what does all this speculation mean? Holiday gift giving will ultimately depend on the recipients' personal taste, and we'll have to wait and see which retailers emerge most successful. Some gifts appear to spur more powerful blog buzz than others, which of course is a huge opportunity to drive substantial sales, whereas other gifts have yet to register on the blogosphere's radar. No matter what the buzz is online, the holidays will soon be here, and we'll discover which gifts were hot – and which were not – soon enough.

Based on BuzzLogic's analysis of 48,721 blog postings from November 1-19.

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