CHICAGO (Reuters) - Online sales jumped on Black Friday as consumers searched for electronics such as the Wii video game console and Apple's iPhone and iPod touch, according to eBay Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
Amazon.com and eBay had both forecast a weaker holiday this year as consumers cut back on discretionary purchases.
But U.S. shoppers are scouring the Internet and stores for the best prices this season as they grapple with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
PayPal, an online payments service owned by eBay, saw almost 34 percent more transactions this Black Friday than a year earlier, eBay said on Saturday.
PayPal saw sales rise 26 percent on Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday that traditionally kicks off the U.S. holiday shopping season. PayPal said its sales numbers reflected 12 percent of all U.S. e-commerce.
Black Friday is best known as the day consumers crowd shopping malls, while greater online traffic is expected three days later on "Cyber Monday," when consumers use faster Internet connections at the office to make purchases.
Overall Web sales during the U.S. holiday season are expected to be flat at about $29 billion this year, according to tracking firm comScore.
Amazon.com said Apple Inc's iPod touch was the top-selling electronics item on Friday morning, followed by a Canon Inc PowerShot camera. Wii Fit and the Wii console were the top-selling items in the video game category, while the LeapFrog Tag Reading System was the best-selling toy.
The most searched-for product on eBay was Nintendo's Wii console and 3,171 of them were sold on the site.
On Shopping.com, another site owned by eBay, the most popular searches were Nintendo Wii Fit and Nintendo Wii. Other electronics were also popular, with a GPS navigation system selling every nine minutes on the site and an MP3 player selling every 11 minutes, eBay said.
Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Peter Cooney