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NRF: Black Friday draws high traffic and ticket counts

Washington D.C. - On Thanksgiving Day, more than 35 million Americans visited retailers' stores and websites - up from 29 million last year - to take advantage of special deals on a broad array of promotional offers.

This is according to a recent survey by National Retail Federation, which partnered with BigInsight to poll 4,005 consumers from Nov. 23 to 24. The survey also found that over the four-day holiday weekend, both traffic and spending grew compared to last year, as 89 million shopped online and in stores on Black Friday versus 2011's 86 million.

In total, NRF said "a record 247 million shoppers" visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 226 million last year; and the average holiday shopper spent $423 this weekend, up from $398 last year.

Total spending reached an estimated $59.1 billion.

Venturing out to shop on Thanksgiving night, 28.0% of weekend shoppers were at the stores by midnight on Black Friday, compared to 24.4% last year.

More than half (53.5%) of shoppers visited department stores this weekend, up from 48.7% last year. Additionally, consumers shopped at discount stores (39.4%), clothing stores (29.0%), electronics stores (33.0%), grocery stores (21.7%), and drug stores (12.7%). Taking advantage of retailers' special online deals over the weekend, 43.8% of shoppers visited retailers' websites, up from 35.2% last year.

On that note, the survey found that consumers also spent more of their holiday budget online this year, as the average person spent $172.42 online over the weekend, or approximately 40.7% of their total weekend spending. This is up from 37.8% last year.

NRF also asked shoppers which days they shopped online. More than one quarter (27.0%) of holiday shoppers said they shopped online on Thanksgiving Day, and nearly half (47.5%) on Black Friday.

Eight in 10 (79.6%) shoppers took advantage of weekend promotions to buy non-gift items.

Over their weekend shopping trips, looking for both "self-gifts" and gifts for others, nearly six in 10 (57.7%) bought clothing and clothing accessories, up from 51.4% last year. Gift buyers also bought toys (34.6%), books, CDs, DVDs, video games (39.8%), electronics (37.7%), and jewelry (15.2%). Nearly one-third (32.6%) of shoppers bought gift cards over the weekend, up nearly 10 percentage points from the 23.1% who did so last year last year.


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