Still looking for the perfect gift for your friends, family, or significant other? Search no longer; U.S. News has rounded up the hottest gifts this holiday season based on the most popular searches on Amazon.com and eBay.
You wouldn't know there's a predicted 1 percent decline in holiday sales this year, based on how quickly some of the following holiday gifts are selling out. Several of the hottest toys of the season aren't in stores anymore, and shoppers are heading online to sites like eBay to find them. The most in-demand electronic holiday gifts may look similar to years' past, but they have been revamped with newer features. Also be on the lookout for cheaper toys this year. Here's a rundown of the hottest gifts this season.
Zhu Zhu Pets
These interactive hamster toys have been the bestselling toys this season and have sold out at virtually every store in the country. With names like Mr. Squiggles, PipSqueak, Patches, Num Nums, and Chunk, the battery-powered creatures act like live animals, with a "loving mode" in which they make squeaking noises and an "exploring mode" in which they zoom across the floor. Zhu Zhu Pets sell for about $8, and you can also buy accessories such as cars, houses, beds, slides, and wheels. Toy reviewers say the sales of Zhu Zhu pets may surpass Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo. On Black Friday and Cyber-Monday, the toys sold out at large retailers including Toys "R" Us, Walmart, and Amazon.com. Shoppers then went to eBay to find them priced at as much as $42. In response to the demand, Walmart, Toys "R" Us, and Target have stocked hundreds of thousands this week for last-minute shoppers.
iPod Touch Third Generation
The third generation of the iPod Touch has all the Web-surfing, E-mail, music, and game features as the original iPod Touch, but it also comes with more memory—to load more apps—and a faster processor. Don't worry about these popular music devices selling out, as most retailers have plenty in stock. Check the Apple Store, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon.com. But since the iPod Touch is in strong demand, retailers aren't offering big discounts, says Dan de Grandpre, editor in chief of DealNews.com. The 8GB version is listed for $199, the 32GB for $299, the 64GB for $399. Some retailers are offering slight discounts, including Amazon.com, which is selling the 8GB for $183.99, the 32GB for $269.00, and the 64GB for $359.99. BestBuy.com is selling each model for its list price but includes a $30 Best Buy gift card with the purchase of the 32GB iPod Touch.
This will be the first holiday shopping season in which customers won't find the Nintendo Wii sold out, says de Grandpre. The popular game console has released Wii Fit Plus this year, an updated version of Wii Fit that offers more games and exercises—and a feature that allows family members to track their fitness goals. The Nintendo Wii makes a good gift for an entire family because games such as Wii Fit and Rock Band are appealing to both kids and adults, says Karen Bard, pop culture expert at eBay. Nintendo Wii is priced at $199 and the Wii Fit Plus at $19.99, but some sites are selling Nintendo Wii for as low as $180, says de Grandpre.
E-book readers are a great gift for people who travel, commute, or just read a lot, says Bard. They are also nice gifts for college students, she says, because students can save money by downloading textbooks. The Amazon Kindle is listed for $259 and comes with free two-day shipping for a limited time. The Kindle sold out entirely last Christmas, but Amazon.com has stocked up this year in anticipation of swift sales, says de Grandpre. However, the Barnes and Noble Nook, which debuted this year and sells for $259, is sold out and will not be available again until February 1. Both the Kindle and the Nook are lighter than the average book, at less than a pound each, and allow users to download and store approximately 1,500 E-books using a wireless Internet connection.
Corrected on 12/21/09: An earlier version of this article misstated the total number of opening day sales of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. The video game sold 4.7 million games on its opening day. These sales took place in the United States and United Kingdom.