With Thanksgiving coming so late this year, the holiday shopping season has been cut short, meaning some consumers took advantage of stores opening early.

Many major retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year, including Walmart and Kmart. Kmart stayed opened 41 hours straight, opening its doors on Thanksgiving morning. Stores like Walmart, Kohl’s and Best Buy opened Thanksgiving evening.

In the end, economists are still measuring the results to see if earlier shopping hours equals more dollars for retailers and a slowed economy.

 Of course, besides eating turkey on Thanksgiving, consumers also had the option of shopping online.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), four in every 10 consumers indicated they shopped online during the weekend, which is estimated to be nearly 59 million shoppers. Of the 4,464 consumers surveyed, more than one-quarter of them shopped online on Thanksgiving Day, while nearly half shopped through cyber space on Black Friday.

Of those, the average person spent $177.67 online over the weekend, or approximately 43.7 percent of their total weekend spending, up from 40.7 percent last year.

Taking advantage of early openings, nearly a quarter of shoppers hit the stores in person on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly four in 10 were at stores by midnight, up from 29 percent last year. However, early hours weren’t as appealing to everyone. NRF estimates that more than one third of all Black Friday shoppers didn’t hit the stores until after 10 a.m.

In all, it is estimated that 141 million hit the stores at some point over Thanksgiving weekend, up from 139 million a year ago. While nearly 45 million shoppers, or 31.8 percent of holiday shoppers, took advantage of turkey-day savings, up from 35 million in 2012.

Black Friday still drew in the most shoppers with an estimated 92 million people who mainly shopped in stores for apparel, electronics, books, DVDs and video games. In-store shoppers topped last year’s shoppers, which drew in an estimated 89 million shoppers.

“Cold weather, unique promotions and unbeatable prices put millions of Americans in the mood to shop for holiday gifts this weekend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers’ late night and early morning promotions struck just the right chord for those hoping to kick off the holiday shopping season with friends and family. With only a few weeks until the big day, retailers will continue to aggressively promote their in-store and online offerings, looking to entice today’s very budget-conscious and value-focused shopper.”

According to the NRF, Thanksgiving weekend has become more enticing to young shoppers. More than three-quarters of shoppers between 18 and 34 years old shopped or planned to shop over the holiday weekend, which is higher than any other age group.

When it comes to planning for the biggest shopping weekend of the year, the NRF survey revealed that information was sought from multiple sources. According to the survey, almost half of holiday shoppers over the weekend sought out information about promotions and sales via advertising circulars, and one-third conducted online searches to find the best deals. Additionally, 36.8 percent of shoppers kept track of emails sent by retailers, 16.4 percent reviewed Facebook pages for their favorite retailer.

The NRF survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, polled 4,464 consumers and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com.

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