Black Friday Sales: Number of Shoppers Up, Spending Down



Americans spent $41.2 billion over the holiday weekend*, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Details reveal that more people–195 million versus 172 million last year–spent less money at $343.31 per person compared to $372.57 one year ago.

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Over the weekend, shoppers frequented department stores (49.4 percent), discount stores (43.2 percent), outlet stores** (7.8 percent), clothing or accessories stores (22.9 percent), and other specialty stores (14.9 percent). As shoppers geared up for Cyber Monday, one-fourth of Americans shopping over the weekend (28.5 percent) were shopping online. Nearly one-third of shoppers (31.2 percent) were at the stores by 5 a.m., compared with 23.3 percent who were at stores by that time last year.

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • 11.7 percent of shoppers bought jewelry or precious metal accessories versus 10.9 percent last year,
  • 50.9 percent bought clothing or clothing accessories (unchanged),
  • 36.9 percent bought consumer electronics or computer-related items versus 35.9 percent last year,
  • 22.4 percent bought personal care or beauty items versus 19.0 percent last year,
  • 21.2 percent bought gift cards or gift certificates versus 18.7 percent one year ago, and,
  • 40.3 percent bought CDs, DVDs, videos, or video games (versus 39.0 percent last year).

The NRF survey, conducted Nov. 26-28 2009, was conducted by consumer market intelligence firm BIGresearch, which polled 4,985 consumers. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4%.

* NRF’s definition of Black Friday weekend includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and projected spending for Sunday.

** NRF broke out discount and outlet stores this year for the first time; historical information is not available.