I am all done, said Cutillo, a lawyer. One night and I am done.
Yet while Black Friday (so named because it was traditionally when stores profit for the year went into the black) is best known for holiday shopping, it is actually not the heaviest shopping day, said Rick McAllister, president and chief executive of the Florida Retail Federation. That distinction belongs to Christmas Eve, he said.
Overall, Americans are expected to spend an average of about $750 each this holiday season, propelled in part by stronger consumer confidence. More Americans this month said the U.S. economy will improve than at any time in the past decade, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. The share of households saying it would get better rose to 37 percent, the highest since March 2002. A year ago, the measure showed a record number of consumers said it was a bad time to spend.
Nationwide, a rebound in housing and the job market, along with a drop in household debt, has also led additional consumers to say theyll buy more this holiday, according to a survey this month by the Credit Union National Association and the Consumer Federation of America. Of those polled, 12 percent said they would boost spending, the highest level since 15 percent in 2007, while 38 percent said they would spend less.
Much of the weekends shopping took place online, as consumers logged on to take advantage of Internet-only specials beginning early Thursday morning. The average shopper spent more than $172 online over the weekend, which made up about 41 percent of the total weekend spending. Thats up from 38 percent last year.
There is no question that online is a real bright spot in the retail industry, Shay said. For the first time, more than half of those who shopped this weekend said they shopped online.
According to comScore, which tracks online spending, online sales rose 26 percent to $1.04 billion on Black Friday compared with a year ago. On Thanksgiving, online sales rose 32 percent from last year to $633 million. And online sales on Black Friday were up 26 percent from the same day last year to $1.042 billion. It was the first time online sales on Black Friday surpassed $1 billion.
As retailers have ramped up deals, its estimated that this years Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row. Coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed that online sales spiked on the Monday following Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday joins Black Friday and Small Business Saturday as days that stores are counting on to jumpstart the holiday shopping season.
Miami Herald writer Paradise Afshar contributed to this report, which was supplemented with material from The Washington Post, Associated Press and Bloomberg News.