A survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday is showing that U.S. shoppers hit stores and websites at record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend.
NEW YORK — There's a saying that you can't please all of the people all of the time. But apparently you can if they're holiday shoppers.
A survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday is showing that U.S. shoppers hit stores and websites at record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend. They were attracted by stores' efforts to make shopping easier for everyone, including opening on Thanksgiving Day and expanding shipping and layaway options.
A record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the four-day weekend starting Thanksgiving, according to the survey. That's up 9.2 percent from a year ago. Americans spent more too: The average holiday shopper spent $423 over the entire weekend, up from $398.
Total spending over the four-day weekend totaled $59.1 billion, up $52.4 billion in 2011.
Black Friday retail sales online topped $1 billion for the first time this year, ahead of Cyber Monday, anticipated to be the year’s biggest online shopping day for the third straight year.
Reuters reports that online sales jumped at least 22 percent on Black Friday, from sales of $816 million on the same day last year, the research firm comScore said.
E-commerce accounts for less than 10 percent of consumer spending in the United States. However, it is growing much faster than bricks-and-mortar retail as shoppers are lured by low prices, convenience, faster shipping and wide selection.
Retailers are counting on Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving — to jumpstart the holiday shopping season, according to the Associated Press.
Shop.org, the digital division of trade group The National Retail Federation, coined the term when it noticed a spike in online sales as people returned to their work computers after the holiday weekend.
Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion online Monday — up from $1.25 billion last year, according to comScore — as retailers ramp up deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.
How well retailers do on Cyber Monday will offer insight into Americans' evolving shopping habits. With the growth in high speed Internet access and the wide and increasing use of smartphones and tablet computers, people are relying less on their work computers to shop than they did when Shop.org gave a name to the day.
"People years ago didn't have the kind of connectivity to shop online at their homes. So when they went back to work after Thanksgiving they'd shop on the Monday after," said Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org. "Now they don't need the work computer to be able to do that."
Even though Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day this year, industry watchers say it could just be a matter of time before other days take that ranking.
"Of all the benchmark spending days, Thanksgiving is growing at the fastest rate, up 128 percent over the last five years," said Andrew Lipsman, a spokesman with comScore.
For the overall holiday season, comScore predicts online sales will be up 17 percent to $43.4 billion. And the research firm expects online sales to surpass 10 percent of total retail spending this holiday season. The National Retail Federation estimates that overall retail sales in November and December will be up 4.1 percent this year to $586.1 billion.