While stores were certainly hoping for a major holiday shopping weekend, the National Retail Federation is reporting that shoppers spent, on average, 3.5% less than a year ago. The NRF surveyed 4330 consumers on Friday and Saturday and found that shoppers spent $289.19 during the four-day weekend. This was compared to $299.60 last year.
Interestingly, they found that more people made purchases this year. It’s possible that the downturn is a result of the holiday season expanding. Black Friday is no longer the kickoff period for the sales, since more retailers are starting their holiday promotions as early as October.
The NRF Chief Executive Officer Matt Shay said, “Consumers know they can get good deals throughout the season and these opportunities are not a one-day or one-weekend phenomenon and that has showed up in shopping plans.” Shay pointed out that a fourth of consumers haven’t even started shopping yet for the season, so those sales are yet to happen.