Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell a week later in the season this year, leading stores to push pre-Black Friday deals and shifting consumer spending earlier. On average, shoppers would spend about $407 Thursday through Sunday, compared with about $423 in 2012, the retailers group found in a survey of nearly 4,500 shoppers conducted Friday and Saturday.Online retailers continue to gain ground. Including online traffic, Black Friday is still the biggest day of the weekend. The retail federation reported that 92 million people shopped, up from 89 million last year. Nearly half went online on Black Friday, according to the retailers‘ survey, while traffic at brick-and-mortar stores was down more than 11% on that day, ShopperTrak found.
Tablets and smartphones especially drove online business. Website traffic from those devices was up from last year nearly 90% for tablets and about 66% for smartphones, according to e-commerce firm Monetate, which analyzed data from tens of millions of online shopping sessions. The average online order was up more than 18% on Black Friday to about $172, Monetate found, and e-commerce revenue was up nearly 40% on Thanksgiving compared with last year.Tablets and big-screen TVs were two of the most popular purchases online, says Howard Schaffer, vice president of Offers.com, which aggregates online deals and coupons.“Tablets were super-hot this year, which is really no surprise to anybody,“ he says. „Obviously the iPad did extremely well.“
A deal from Best Buy on an iPad mini for $249.99, down from $299, „went out of stock very quickly,“ Schaffer says. An offer of 30% off from the Ugg footwear company also „did extremely well,“ he says.Gifts weren’t the only purchases. Taubman Centers, which operates 28 regional shopping centers, issued a report saying shoppers started buying for themselves on Saturday; outerwear and footwear were popular categories. Deals on appliances also encouraged self-gifting, Schaffer says.“Sears had 50% off select appliances,“ he says. „That did really well, and a lot of that has to do with: Christmas is right around the corner, consumers have family coming in, they want the house up to date and nice, so they get appliances now because it’s a great value.“