USA TODAY’S Ed Baig compares Google Home to the Amazon Echo.
Sara Snyder, USA TODAY
In-home automation devices were among York County’s hottest sellers.
The torn wrapping paper is still settling after Christmas, but some early reports point to another hot year for tech gadgets, with the red-hot NES Classic Mini, as well as home management devices such as Google Home, topping shoppers’ lists.
In York County, Nintendo’s NES Classic Mini was virtually impossible to find. That gels with nationwide reports that the $60 video game system — which includes 30 original Nintendo Entertainment System games from the 1980s and 1990s — was flying off shelves and turning up on places such as Craigslist and eBay with huge markups. Employees at Toys R’ Us in West Manchester Township and Best Buy in Springettsbury Township said that it sold out immediately, despite that customers were each allowed to buy only one.
“They were gone within minutes,” said Best Buy store manager Troy Combs.
At Best Buy, Combs said he was more surprised to see how quickly — and repeatedly — Google Home sold out. Google just entered the fledgling “smart speaker” market, challenging Amazon’s Alexa product line, and sales for both product lines have been strong.
Google’s device, which retails at $130, allows people do everything from asking Google a question to changing the temperature of the home, Combs said.
“It’s going to unlock the potential of products you may already have,” he said. The speaker communicates with other smart devices to allow users to control a number of in-home settings
Best Buy has also seen heavy sales of Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker, hinting that these smart devices may soon become commonplace in homes, Combs said.
Amazon’s other Alexa-compatible device, the Fire Stick, also topped the list of most-purchased items on the retailer’s website, according to a recent USA Today report.
Around York County, shoppers reported purchases ranging from Roku-compatible TVs to upgraded smart phones. Many of those tech gifts were for the 18-and-under crowd.
York resident Serena Gassendi bought her 9-year-old grandson a smart phone.
Outside of Target in West Manchester Township on Monday, 8-year-old Steven Smallwood III proudly announced that he’d gotten a tablet.
Jackson Township resident Denise Kline bought a Fitbit for one of her children.
Still, technology wasn’t everything, Kline said. “We didn’t only buy a Fitbit. We also bought a bicycle.”
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