CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reports that the holiday shopping season started strong this weekend, with sales up as much as 7 percent compared with last year.
"This year will be the best year ever for U.S. retail," says retail analyst Burt Flickinger. "It will be a great weekend this weekend, it will slow down for a few weeks, but November, December will set an all-time U.S. record.
Retailers have a lot of things in their favor. The shopping frenzy started early. All those people who slept out on the street to buy a PlayStation 3 got a first look at other merchandise.
"We're seeing the toy category hot, consumer electronics hot and digital red hot," Flickinger says.
There's also more time to buy. The Saturday before Christmas is usually the biggest shopping day of the year. Last year, that Saturday fell on Christmas Eve — but this year, there's a whole extra day to shop.
And what do shoppers have their eye on this year?
]"Two years ago, it was $20 DVD players," says Scott Krugman, vice president of the National Retail Federation. "Last year it was the $300 laptop. This year the most sought-after item is the 42-inch plasma for under $1,000."
"This is not a toy," shopper Nuny Grey says of the big TVs. "This is a necessity in television today. This is really not a toy."
For Grey, one plasma TV wasn't enough — she took home two. High-tech toys aren't just for boys anymore. Last year, women spent $55 billion on electronics — men, just $41 billion. And given the chance to unwrap a flat-panel TV, diamond jewelry or designer shows, a shopping 77 percent chose … the TV.