Spending & Retail Traffic Down From Last Year’s Black Friday Weekend

Many retailers and websites got a very early jump on the Black Friday shopping weekend this year, not just by being open on Thanksgiving but by holding pre-holiday sales and deals. As you might expect, this appears to have had the effect of taking some of the wind out of the sails of all the sales over the weekend.

This is according to the National Retail Federation, whose early numbers claim that in-store traffic over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped 5.2% from last year, with around 134 million individuals hitting the stores through Sunday, compared to 141 million in 2013.

And people didn’t spend as much over the weekend, per the NRF survey, which estimates that the average Thanksgiving weekend shopper spent $381, down around 6.4% from last year’s average of $407.

In all, that comes out to $6.5 billion less spent this weekend than during the same weekend in 2013.

One stat that did improve slightly is the percentage of consumers buying something for themselves at these sales. According to the NRF, 77.2% of American shoppers who went out this weekend took advantage of the discounts and sales, compared to 76.4% last year.

In spite of all the stores opening on Thanksgiving again this year, Black Friday was still by far the most popular single day to go shopping, claims the NRF, with 87 million consumers either going out to the stores or shopping online on Friday. That’s about double the number of people who shopped on Thanksgiving (note that both numbers include bricks-and-mortar and online shopping).

Speaking on online, Internet shopping accounted for 42% of the money spent over the weekend, with the average holiday shopper spending around $160. However, like other numbers, this stat was down from last year’s figure of $178.

So who was actually out there shopping this weekend? The 18-34 crowd dominated both retail and online shopping, with 74% of shoppers in this age group trying to cash in on holiday sales. This group was also more likely to spend slightly more than average than their older counterparts, and more than average online.

The 35-54 age group was less enthusiastic, though 54% of them still shopped over the weekend. The 55+ demographic was the least interested in the doorbuster deals, with only 39% shopping.