Will Apple Rule the Holidays?

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The 2011 holiday shopping season is upon us. In about a week, Black Friday will kick off a monthlong shopping extravaganza that will boost top lines. Which savvy retailers are set to capitalize the most on the festivities?

Kids play an important role in the holiday shopping decisions, as all their biggest material longings typically culminate at the end of the year. Nowadays, electronics are also the gadgets of choice. Market researcher Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN  ) conducted a survey of roughly 3,000 kids in October with age categories of 6-12 and 13-plus to find out what shiny device their hearts most desire over the coming months.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) looks set to be the big winner this season. For the 6-12 category, iOS devices claimed the top three spots, with the iPad garnering interest in 44%, the iPod Touch with 30%, and the iPhone with 27%. Computers and non-iPad tablets grabbed a quarter, and I was a bit surprised that the Nintendo 3DS seems to be holding up.

Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Kinect for Xbox 360 was high on the list at 23%. The big three gaming consoles -- Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii -- came in at 17%, 16%, and 11%, respectively. The overriding theme among the younger crowd revolves around gaming devices, with iOS being the most wanted gaming platform. That's a lesson that Nintendo still needs to learn, although the 3DS did show the most interest among non-iOS devices.

Source: Nielsen.

Moving up to the teenagers, the iPad still reigned supreme with 24% interest, followed closely by computers and e-readers, likely's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle or Barnes & Noble's (NYSE: BKS  ) Nook, with 18% each. TVs and non-iPad tablets each checked in with 17%, while surprisingly smartphones came behind those. iPhones and non-iPhone smartphones, such as those running Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android, came in with 15% and 14% interest.

It seems that the gaming devices start to lose their appeal with age, since the consoles and handheld gaming devices lagged the other categories. The Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 each scored less than 10%, with most of the portable devices like the 3DS and PlayStation Portable at 5% or less.

Source: Nielsen.

Gadgets are today's toys. Apple holds the most mindshare among youths, leading Nielsen to dub this season "iHoliday" 2011. Without a doubt, this coming month is the most important for retailers, although some will bank more than others.

What do you think? What do you plan on buying your kids this holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Nintendo,, Google, Apple, and Microsoft and creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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