Preliminary reports of Black Friday sales are starting to come in. The verdict so far: The crowds were bigger and people walked away with arms full of goodies, but shoppers spent only modestly more this year.
WithÂ shoppers scooping up discounted items, total sales rose a slight 0.3% over last year to $10.7 billion, while customer traffic increased 2.2%, according to ShopperTrak, which records sales and customer traffic at more than 70,000 stores and malls.
That’s about the same annual sales increase in Black Friday sales as stores saw in 2009.
Stores may have cannibalized some Black Friday sales by prodding shoppers with doorbuster-like deals weeks in advance, said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.
Indeed, in the first two weeks of November, sales were up 6.1% and 6.2%, according to ShopperTrak.
“Retailers were very conscious of driving traffic early in November, and in doing so some might have thinned Black Friday spending a bit,” Martin said in a statement.
On a regional basis, sales rose 1.7% in the Northeast, followed by a 0.4% increase in the Midwest and in the West. Sales declined 0.3% in the South.
Up next Cyber Monday:
A separate survey found that shoppers bought more goods. The number of purchases were 4% higher than last year, according to a survey of shoppers by market research firm NPD Group.
“To see growth of 4% over the year before tells us two big things,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at NPD. “One, those people that went to shop, bought. Two, the retailers did a better job of luring consumers in with big deals and great savings.”
The survey also showed that 33% of consumers bought items for themselves.
“This is my biggest sign of [consumer] optimism — the number of respondents reporting they made ‘impulse purchases,’ ” said Cohen. “This tells us that consumers are buying for themselves again and sets the stage for growth this holiday.”
The NPD survey was conducted online on Friday and Saturday and polled 1,768 consumers.
More thanÂ 138 million people were expected to have shopped on Black Friday, up 3% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Buying more online: Online sales jumped 16% on Black Friday over last year and the average value of an online purchase rose to $190.80, up from $170.19 last year, according to web analytics firm Coremetrics.
Coremetrics’ data showed that jewelry retailers saw a 17.6% increase in Black Friday sales over last year and that 5.6% of shoppers logged on to a retailer’s web site using a mobile device.
Coremetrics gathers data directly from the web sites of more than 500 retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Petco.
To be sure, there’s plenty of holiday shopping left. Overall holiday sales are forecast to increase 2.3% this year, according to the NRF. That would be an improvement from last year’s anemic 0.4% holiday sales gain and a dismal 3.9% sales decline in 2008.