Consumers looking for the best deals of the year braved the elements om Black Friday, contributing to a 17% increase in the number of shoppers hitting stores on Black Friday through Nov. 30, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation.
As expected, electronics, toys and apparel seem to be today?s big winners. Flat screen televisions, GPS systems, digital frames and cameras, video game systems and Blu-Ray players were some of the first items to fly off shelves last Friday.
Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 this weekend, up 7.2 percent over last year?s $347.55. Total spending reached an estimated $41.0 billion.
"Pent-up demand on electronics and clothing, plus unparalleled bargains on this season?s hottest items helped drive shopping all weekend," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "Holiday sales are not expected to continue at this brisk pace, but it is encouraging that Americans seem excited to go shopping again."
Friday was clearly the busiest day of the weekend with 73.6 million people hitting stores and websites for doorbuster sales. Though traffic did subside after Friday, retailers were also buoyed by two-day sales as 56.9 million people shopped on Saturday, up from 48.3 million last year, while another 26.2 million people planned to shop on Sunday.
Though retailers in all categories were featuring big bargains, a majority of shoppers visited discount stores for holiday deals. According to the survey, more than half (54.7%) of this weekend?s shoppers visited discount stores. Nearly half (43.0%) shopped at a traditional department store, up 11.1 percent from 38.7 percent last year. About one-third of shoppers visited specialty stores like clothing or electronics stores (36.0%) and shopped online (34.0%).
As expected, many shoppers (50.9%) purchased clothing and accessories over the weekend while 39.0 percent bought books, DVDs, CDs and video games and 35.9 percent purchased consumer electronics. Toys were also big sellers, as 28.5 percent of shoppers bought a toy. Gift card purchasing dropped ten percent with 18.7 percent of shoppers purchasing a gift card over the weekend, down from 21.0 percent last year.
NRF projected that holiday sales will rise 2.2 percent this year to $470.4 billion.