Shoppers in the U.S. splurged online by spending more than $1.52 billion by Thanksgiving night, and more shoppers showed up at stores on Thanksgiving after two poor holiday seasons, as retailers opened early on Black Friday eve.
At the beginning of the holiday season spending by consumers increased 16.8% compared to the same time last year, said one online analytics company, Adobe Analytics, which tracks 80% of the online transactions at top U.S. retailers.
A surge in online sales as well as shifting away from shopping at stores have thinned crowds that are typically seen on Thanksgiving night the eve of Black Friday, for the last two years.
However, a stronger labor market, increased home prices, and the financial markets reaching record highs have improved the spending appetite of shoppers to start the holiday season.
Crowds at stores across many areas of the country reportedly were strong, according to retail consultants and analysts monitoring the traffic of shoppers in the U.S.
One industry analysts said that the turnout in stores was far better than the past few years, adding that parking lots were full and the outlet malls very busy.
A retail analyst on Wall Street said that reported very high turnout in Malls with crowds seen at Kohl’s, Old Navy and Best Buy just to name a few.
Another analyst said that weather was a contributing factor as most of the country enjoyed a mild Thanksgiving.
The National Retail Federation has predicted sales from November through December would increase between 3.6% and 4% in 2016, versus an increase of 4% a year ago.
Non-store sales, which are online sales as well as those at kiosks, are estimated to increase between 11% and 15% to over $140 billion.
Reports said that at some Macy’s locations there were shoppers lined up waiting for the store to open on Thanksgiving night, while a Best Buy store had over 200 people waiting outside, of which many were shoppers from online waiting to pick up orders.
Chicago shoppers were slightly less enthusiastic to leave their homes as crowds in city malls were thin. More people were shopping than normal, but Windy City residents appeared to be staying home and enjoying the fixings and watching the NFL.
The holiday shopping season for the months of November and December is vital for the health of retailers since it can represent up to 40% of their sales for the year.