Consumer spending during America's Thanksgiving weekend dropped compared to last year, but the decline can be attributed to an improving economy and changing shopping habits, a survey found Sunday.
According to the National Retail Federation's Thanksgiving weekend spending survey 55.1% of holiday shoppers were expected to visit stores or go online over Thanksgiving weekend, down from 58.7% last year.
"A strengthening economy that changes consumers' reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend," NRF CEO Matthew Shay said.
According to the survey, the average weekend shopper was expected to spend $380.95, down 6.4% from $407.02 last year.
Total spending was expected to reach $50.9 billion, down from last year’s estimated $57.4 billion.
Black Friday still drew the biggest crowds, but the weekend has been expanded into a number of specialty commercial 'holidays': "Gray Thursday," "Small Business Saturday" and "Cyber Monday."
Of those who went shopping on Saturday, three-quarters said they did so specifically to support "Small Business Saturday," which is a growing movement to encourage residents to support local sellers.
Many online retailers also offered discounts in the days before Black Friday, possibly accounting for a reduced overall spend on the day itself.
"Early online promotions before the big weekend may have taken some of consumer's spending power with them," the NRF statement read.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014