Consumers spent nearly $28 billion on Black Friday weekend

The ceremonial kickoff to the holiday season began with 145 million shoppers flooding stores and the Internet hunting for popular electronics, clothing, and books. An NRF survey conducted by BIGresearch found that the average shopper spent $302.81 this weekend, bringing total weekend spending to $27.8 billion, a 21.9 percent increase over last year’s $22.8 billion.

“As expected, retailers offered substantial discounts and savings on Black Friday to bring people into their stores and consumers held up their end of the bargain by shopping,” said NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin.

More than 60 million shoppers headed to the stores on Black Friday, an increase of 7.9 percent over last year, according to the NRF survey. Another 52.8 million shopped on Saturday, a rise of 13.3 percent over 2004.

Consumers were shopping for a variety of merchandise this weekend. According to the survey, 49.2 percent of consumers purchased clothing or clothing accessories while 46.7 percent bought books, CDs, DVDs, videos, and video games. The electronics category saw the largest year-over-year jump, with 36.7 percent of shoppers buying in that category, up from 31.2 percent a year ago.

A variety of retailers benefited from seasonably cool weather and heavy discounting this weekend. According to the survey, the majority of shoppers headed to discounters (60.7 percent), though department stores (47 percent) and specialty stores (41.2 percent) also saw strong traffic. As expected, online retailers also had a solid weekend, with nearly one in three consumers (27.4 percent) choosing to do some of their holiday shopping over the Internet.

As of Sunday, Nov. 28, the average person has completed 35.6 percent of their holiday shopping, slightly less than a year ago (36.8 percent). Only one in 13 consumers (7.5 percent) has finished their holiday shopping.

NRF projects that holiday sales will rise 6 percent this year to $439.5 billion.