Millions of People Went Shopping on Thanksgiving Weekend, But They Didn’t Spend Much

black friday shoppers
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People may have hit shopping malls and e-commerce sites in droves over the holiday weekend, but their pursuit of megadeals has kept overall retail spending down year-over-year.

According to the National Retail Federation, roughly 154 million people went shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, shelling out an average of $289.19 per person, a 3.5 percent decline from the tepid 2015 Thanksgiving weekend.

The results represent a mixed bag for retail: Consumers’ overall zeal to shop appears to be on the uptick, but deep discounting may be keeping the spending totals on the conservative.

It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release on Sunday. “In fact, over one-third of shoppers said 100 percent of their purchases were on sale.”

Ahead of Black Friday weekend — retail’s longtime kick-off to holiday season shopping — experts had already predicted that retailers would be marking down merchandise like never before in order to keep up with discount-hungry consumers. What’s more, pre-holiday season research suggested that consumers were not willing to pay full price for products any more and would clench their pocketbooks if deals weren’t up to par.

And, in that regard, it seems that retailers did not disappoint.

According to the NRF, 50 percent of consumers that shopped in store indicated that they were compelled to do so the deals were too good to pass up.

Online shopping also continues its dynamic rise in importance but things are balancing out between brick-and-mortar and digital.

The survey found that 44 percent went online and 40 percent shopped in-store. The most popular day to shop online was Black Friday, up 1.3 percent from last year to 74 percent, followed by Saturday (49 percent), Thanksgiving (36 percent) and Sunday (34 percent).

Of those who shopped in stores, 51 percent shopped at department stores, 34 percent at discount stores, 32 percent at electronics stores, 28 percent at clothing or accessories stores and 25 percent at grocery/supermarket stores.