Shoppers crush spending records over 5-day shopping weekend

A record number of people shopped this weekend, spending billions online, at department stores and in local, small businesses.

Nearly 190 million U.S. shoppers looked for deals from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, far surpassing an estimate of 189.6 million, according to the National Retail Federation and Proper Analytics.

That’s a 14% increase from the 165.7 million shoppers last year. Those shoppers also spent an average $361.90 during the weekend, a jump of nearly $49 or 16% from last year.

“It’s a reflection of overall, the economy is still very strong and people still feel very good about their economic situation,” said Alex Boehnke, spokesman for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

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The weekend was a success for local small businesses like Heart Mercantile in the Oregon District. It drew about 25% more sales this year than last year, said Amanda Hensler, one of the store’s four co-owners. Dayton-themed apparel and gifts, along with the store’s popular socks were some of the best sellers.

“We surpassed our last year’s number by a lot and we were shocked,” Hensler said. “We were really happy with the turnout … We’re just really hoping for a best year yet for the holidays.”

Small Business Saturday was the second most frequented shopping day for brick-and-mortar stores when 59.9 million shoppers headed to local businesses. Black Friday was first with 84.2 million shoppers heading to stores and Thanksgiving was third with 37.8 million consumers, according NRF.

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“In the Dayton area, the economy has been doing well. Unemployment has remained low. So consumers have dollars. They’re willing to spend dollars, and we have some great retail establishments that I know consumers were out enjoying this weekend,” said Chris Kershner, executive vice president of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Local small business Blue Turtle Toys in the Shops of Oakwood saw almost the exact dollar value of sales during the Thanksgiving weekend this year as last year, said owner Cathy Tapogna. But she estimates more people shopped the deeper discounts, equaling out to sales volumes about the same as last year.

About 124 million U.S. people shopped in stores, 142.2 million bought online and 75.7 million did both. A big jump this year was in buy online pick up in store options, said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. Shoppers also took advantage of free shipping.

For the first time ever, more people shopped online on Black Friday than Cyber Monday, according to the NRF.

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“The trend in the industry has been clear that more and more folks are comfortable with online shopping and doing that not just on Cyber Monday but doing that all year long,” Boehnke said. “And retailers are catering to that.”

Online deals began as early as October. Many of the Black Friday sales launched earlier in the week online and many stores offered their Black Friday doorbusters online as well as in store, tempting shoppers to grab online deals before the cyber-specific holiday Monday.

Amazon had the best Black Friday ever, but it also had the largest shopping day in history on Cyber Monday based on the number of items sold. Shoppers ordered hundreds of millions of items between Thanksgiving and Monday, according to a statement.

While more consumers shopped on Black Friday, spending likely remained higher on Cyber Monday when shoppers spent a record of $9.4 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics, which is about 20% more than last year. During the peak shopping hours, consumers spent about $11 million every minute.

Black Friday’s online sales topped $7.4 billion, Adobe said.

“We believe we’re going to continue the momentum through the season and don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t,” Shay said, saying the next three weeks of shopping until Christmas will be a “sprint to the finish.”


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By the Numbers

189.6M: Shoppers from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday

$361.90: Average amount consumers spent over 5-day period

16%: Increase in spending from last year

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