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Apple, Amazon lead big tech Black Friday

Doug Gross, CNN
Sales of its new tablet, the Kindle Fire, helped spur a big Black Friday for Amazon.
Sales of its new tablet, the Kindle Fire, helped spur a big Black Friday for Amazon.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Apple, Kindle sales help spur massive Black Friday numbers
  • Apple retail stores had their biggest day ever Friday, according to reports
  • Amazon says its Kindles sold four times more than they did last year
  • Online sales were up over 24 percent from last Black Friday, IBM says

(CNN) -- Hot-selling gadgets by Apple and Amazon appeared to drive tech sales on what, by all accounts, was a massive Black Friday.

Apple's retail stores had their biggest sales day of all time, according to published reports.

9to5 Mac, an Apple-oriented blog, quoted an unnamed "source inside Apple Retail," saying that the company had predicted sales four-times bigger than normal and topped that mark by 7 p.m.

iPad and Macbook Air sales were "exceptionally strong," according to the source, who gave the blog a copy of an Apple Store inventory report.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster counted sales in an Apple Store (just as he's done every year since 2008), reporting that iPads and Macs were leaving the store at a rate of 14.8 and 10.1 per hour, respectively. That's up from 8.8 and 8.2 per hour last year, according to his count.

Fortune's Phillip Elmer-Dewitt noted his findings, as well as a separate Deutsche Bank analysis in which 75 percent of Apple Stores surveyed said they'd sold out of the iPhone 4S by the end of the day Friday.

Apple tends to avoid discounting its products, but this year offered some deals on Black Friday.

Meanwhile, the Kindle Fire tablet -- which may become the strongest challenger yet to Apple's iPad -- led the way for a big day for Amazon.

Friday was the biggest sales day ever for the line of Kindle e-readers and tablets, with customers buying four times as many of the devices as they did last year, Amazon said.

"In addition, we're seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles -- one for themselves and others as gifts," said Amazon vice president Dave Limp. "We expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season."

The Kindle Fire is smaller and less powerful than the iPad but, at $199, sells for $300 less than the most basic iPad 2.

Strong tech sales may account, in part, for a big jump in e-shopping this year. Online sales were up 39.3% on Thanksgiving Day and 24.3% on Black Friday compared to the same days last year, according to IBM's Coremetrics, which tracks real-time data from 500 retailers.

Mobile devices, including tablet computers and smartphones, accounted for 14.3% of all online retail traffic on Black Friday, according to Coremetrics. That's up from just 5.6% last year.

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