Fomenting the Friday Fatale

Last holiday season, Global Positioning System units and satellite radio sales were snapped up by subscribers, although the latter may have been driven by the buzz around Howard Stern leaving for Sirius.

NPD expects that GPS will again be a popular category. However, one new category to watch will be digital picture frames, increasingly offered at a wide array of retailers at less than $150.

Perhaps the Internet -- which has extended anticipation of these deals to weeks before Black Friday -- will eventually give rise to services that allow teams of coordinated shoppers to manage triage for the best deals at stores miles apart.

If not, you can always hold out hope for cloning. The inconvenience of competing with yourself for the rest of the year is really a small price to pay for a good deal on a plasma TV.

Ross Rubin is director of industry analysis for consumer technology at The NPD Group

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