10 stories that illuminated the crazy holiday shopping season

Consumers started early this year on holiday shopping, crowding local malls and shopping centers.

Holiday spending in Ohio is expected to grow 2 percent this year compared to 2016, bringing in an estimated $24.1 billion statewide — and people in the Dayton region are expected to spend more than last year. NRF projects that holiday retail sales in November and December this year will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion.

Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual survey conducted.

Check out 10 things we learned about holiday shopping in November:

1. Amazon sees ‘single biggest shopping day ever’ on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day worldwide in the company's history, and the biggest day ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. Amazon App orders on Cyber Monday 2017 increased more than 50 percent, worldwide year over year. On Cyber Monday, the best-selling item was the Echo Dot. LEARN MORE

2. It’s official: Millennials won Black Friday weekend

The biggest spenders were older millennials — 25 to 34 years old — at $419.52. Average spending per person over the five-day period was $335.47, with $250.78 – 75 percent – specifically going toward gifts. LEARN MORE

3. Gun sales skyrocket on Black Friday

The FBI said it fielded 203,086 background check requests for gun purchases on the day after Thanksgiving — the highest daily total ever, according to NPR. The number of guns sold on Black Friday is likely much higher than 203,086 because a person would only have one background check but could buy multiple firearms during one purchase. LEARN MORE

4. Online sales keep soaring while in-store numbers stay flat

Brick-and-mortar sales stayed steady this year compared to Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2016, but Cyber Monday sales are expected to increase by more than 18 percent, according to Adobe Analytics. LEARN MORE

5. Cyber Monday morphs into week of online deals

Approximately 78 million people in the U.S. expect to shop on Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation. That make it the second busiest shopping day of Thanksgiving weekend, right behind Black Friday when 115 million were estimated to shop. LEARN MORE

6. 5 ways to survive chaotic mall parking this holiday season

Check out some tips for surviving parking disasters at malls and shopping centers: Get walking. Don't park near the main entrance of the mall, which will surely be packed. Look for back entrances that are less often, and there are often open spaces on the outskirts of parking lots. LEARN MORE

7. Overheard while Thanksgiving shopping: ‘Your dad is going to kill me’

Eager shoppers trickled in and out of the aisles of retailers like Meijer, Kroger and Cabela's early Thanksgiving morning. With friends and family, people in the Miami Valley loaded their carts with oversized TVs, food for Thanksgiving dinner and toys for Christmas. LEARN MORE

8. After Black Friday, small businesses try to cash in on shopping frenzy

Approximately 61 percent of U.S. consumers are aware of Small Business Saturday going into the day, and of those, 82 percent plan to shop at a small, independently-owned retailer or dine at a small, independently-owned restaurant on the day. LEARN MORE

9. 5 ways to stay out of debt this holiday shopping season

Shopping styles and spending habits are highly personal, but one thing is common — if you're not careful you can spend more than you make. Patti Stoll, manager of PNC Bank's wealth management team in Dayton, suggests these tips for dodging overspending this holiday season and staying in the black. LEARN MORE

10. 17 retail horror stories that show working Black Friday is the worst

For many people, working in retail is a rite of passage — often the first job teens work during high school or college. In Ohio, the retail industry supports one in four jobs. We asked our readers to share your good and bad memories and experiences during your time working in malls, shopping centers and stores. LEARN MORE

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