Survey: More Money Spent at Retail Stores on Black Friday Weekend

More than 140 million shoppers hit the stores on Black Friday weekend, spending an average of $360.15, up 18.9 percent from last year’s $302.81, according to the latest National Retail federation survey, released Sunday.

“Each year, consumers have greater expectations for doorbuster specials, forcing retailers to raise the bar,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “This year, stores did not disappoint as deals on high definition televisions and apparel were just too good to pass up, bringing millions of people out of their Thanksgiving cocoons.”

Retail stores opened earlier than ever on Black Friday and shoppers responded. According to the “2006 Black Friday Weekend Survey,” conducted by BIGresearch, 36 percent of Black Friday shoppers got to their first shopping destination before 6 a.m. By 9 a.m., nearly 59 percent of shoppers said they had already visited one store. Men were more likely to wait in line than women, as 17.3 percent of men said they got to their first store by 4 a.m., compared to 8 percent of women who arrived by that time.

The survey measured spending data for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and projected spending for Sunday.

Though more women went shopping than men (47.9% vs. 37.4%), men undoubtedly outspent their counterparts. According to the survey, men who hit the stores during the Black Friday weekend outspent women by 38.1 percent, with men spending $420.37 on average and women spending $304.30. Over the weekend, 39.5 percent of men bought consumer electronics or computer-related accessories compared to 27.5 percent of women. Nearly half of the men surveyed purchased books, CDs, DVDs, videos, or video games compared to only 34.1 of women who purchased the same products.

Though discounters were still the most popular shopping destination, traffic dropped substantially from last year (49.6% vs. 60.7% in 2005). Traditional department stores were also a popular destination (38.8%) as well as specialty retailers like clothing and toy stores (37.5%). One-fourth of consumers (23.0%) also took advantage of some retailers’ web-only specials this weekend.

The most popular items purchased were clothing or clothing accessories (41.4%) as well as books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games (41.4%). Also on many Christmas lists were consumer electronics or computer-related accessories (33.3%) as well as toys (28.3%), gift cards/gift certificates (17.6%) and home décor or home-related furnishings (17.4%).

As of Sunday, November 26, the average person has completed 35.6 percent of their holiday shopping, showing no change from last year. A total of 8.6 percent has finished their holiday shopping.

NRF continues to project that holiday sales will rise 5 percent this year to $457.4 billion.