Black Friday kicked off a busy holiday shopping weekend, as an estimated 212 million shoppers hit the stores during the weekend, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation, up from 195 million last year. Those shoppers spent an average $365 per person, an increase of more than 6 percent compared to 2009, reports The New York Times.
Analysts caution that the increased numbers could be consumer response to the economy, however, and not an indication of robust sales to come all season long. Black Friday weekend spending normally accounts for 8 to 9 percent of the season’s sales, reports The Times, but some view it as a means for economically restricted shoppers to do more purchasing than normal during the season’s biggest sale weekend.
“Sometimes Black Friday is not an indicator of the holiday season, because people are so focused on deals that they’ll get themselves up early,” Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for the NRF, told The Times.
Online shopping accounted for 33.6 percent of weekend shoppers, the highest percentage ever reported by the NRF.
Several retailers will report same store sales figures on Thursday, which analysts say will paint a more accurate picture of early season holiday sales.