Black Friday shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores in the United States was down about 7 percent from a year ago, according to ShopperTrak, but more purchases on Thanksgiving Day nearly made up the difference. Meanwhile, online retailers recorded double-digit year-on-year increases in sales.
ShopperTrak says Friday store sales hit $9.1 billion, but they spent $3.2 billion on Thanksgiving – a 24 percent increase for sales on that day from over last year. Overall, it represented a 0.5 percent drop from last year.
The New York Times says: "ShopperTrak, a consumer analytics firm based in Chicago, warned that its estimates were preliminary, and that shifting spending patterns meant that holiday sales were now dispersed over a longer period. Retailers have been offering deep discounts well before their sales on Friday, and many stores moved the start of those offers to Thursday evening."
A separate survey by IBM showed a 9.5 percent jump on Black Friday and a 14.3 percent increase on Thanksgiving Day for online sales over the same period last year.
Amazon.com saw a 24 percent increase in sales over the two days and it predicts that its Cyber Monday sales will show an even bigger increase.
The National Retail Federation is predicting that this will be the strongest holiday shopping season in the last three years.