NRF: Black Friday weekend spending down 2.8%

New York -- Overall spending over Black Friday weekend was expected to hit $57.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, which is down 2.8% from last year’s $59.1 billion. It was the first spending decline on a Black Friday weekend since 2009. But there was some good news for retailers: Online sales soared over the holiday weekend.

The NRF estimated that 141 million Americans shopped during the four-day weekend, up 1.2% from a year ago.

On average, the NRF estimated that shoppers spent $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday, down from $423.55 last year because of lower prices it said would persist through the rest of the season.

“Retailers will continue to aggressively promote their in-store and online offerings, looking to entice today's very budget-conscious and value-focused shopper," said NRF chief executive Matthew Shay.

According to a NRF survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics over the weekend, traffic on Thanksgiving Day itself grew 27% as nearly 45 million shoppers, or 31.8% of holiday shoppers, took advantage of special “turkey day” savings offers, up from 35 million in 2012.  

In other survey findings:

  • Black Friday was the biggest day: more than 92 million people shopped (65.2%) for apparel, electronics and more, up from nearly 89 million last year.
  • One-quarter (25.4%) of holiday shoppers were at stores by 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night; nearly four-in-10 (37.3%) were at stores by midnight, up from 28.0% last year. Early hours aren’t for everyone however; more than one-third (35.8%) didn’t arrive at stores until 10 a.m. or later.
  • Four-in-10 (42.1%) indicated they shopped online over the weekend, or approximately 59 million shoppers.  
  • Nearly six-in-10 (57.5%) bought clothing and clothing accessories, 37.7% bought electronics, 34.5% bought toys, and 36.1% bought books, CDs, DVDs and video games. Additionally, 29.6% bought gift cards and 16.9% purchased jewelry items.
  • More than 76 million (54.2%) shoppers visited their favorite department store over the weekend, and nearly 55 million (38.9%) visited discount stores. Additionally, 32.2% (45 million) shopped at electronics stores and 28.7%, or 40 million, went to clothing or accessories stores for gifts.
  • Almost half (49.2%) of holiday shoppers over the weekend sought out information about promotions and sales via advertising circulars, and one-third (33.0%) conducted online searches to find the best deals. Additionally, 36.8% made sure to keep track of emails from retailers, 16.4% reviewed retail companies’ Facebook accounts for information, and 12.2% browsed stores to find bargains and sales.
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