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190 Mln Consumers Shopped During Thanksgiving Weekend

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The U.S. consumer market saw a record 189.6 million people shopping at the Thanksgiving Day weekend, a survey shows.

It is an increase of 14 percent from last year's 165.8 million, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics said Tuesday.

Shoppers spent an average $361.90 on holiday items in the five-day period, up 16 percent from $313.29 during the same period last year.

71 percent of money, or $257.33, was spent on purchasing gifts. The biggest spenders were in the age group of 25-34, who spent an average of $440.46.

35 to 44 year-old shoppers spent $439.72 on average.

With the condensed holiday season, consumers are feeling the pressure to get their shopping done in time. Even those who typically wait until the last minute to purchase gifts turned out in record numbers all weekend long," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

The survey found that more purchases were made online this year. 124 million people shopped in stores while 142.2 million shopped on retailers' websites; 75.7 million did both.

Free shipping was the biggest reason that half of the online shoppers cited to make a purchase they were otherwise hesitant about.

Other top factors included limited-time sales or promotions (36 percent) and an easy-to-use website or app (21 percent).

Top gift purchases over the weekend included apparel (bought by 58 percent of those surveyed), toys (33 percent), electronics (31 percent), books/music/movies/video games (28 percent) and gift cards (27 percent).

The survey found only 39 percent of shoppers believe deals seen over the Thanksgiving weekend will get better throughout the rest of the season.

The popularity of Thanksgiving weekend shopping continues even as earlier NRF surveys found that 56 percent said they had already started their holiday shopping in the first week of November.

NRF defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31 and has forecast that sales will total between $727.9 and $730.7 billion.

Consumers expect to spend an average $1,047.83, an increase of 4 percent over last year, according to NRF's annual survey released in October.

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