DALLAS, Dec 1, 2008 / FW/ — Bleak sales forecast sent visual merchandisers announcing sales on their store windows and it worked. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend nationwide, up from 147 million shoppers last year.
A survey conducted by BIGResearch for the NRF revealed that 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.
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.
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.
Thanksgiving Day also continues to increase in importance as the number of people who shopped on Thursday was up 48 percent over last year (16.2 million people vs. 10.9 million people).
NRF continues to project that holiday sales will rise 2.2 percent this year to $470.4 billion.