In a positive sign for the U.S. economy, shoppers took advantage of deep discounts both online and in stores over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Black Friday online sales topped $1 billion for the first time, according to comScore, which measures online behavior.
E-commerce accounts for less than 10 percent of consumer spending in the United States. However, it is growing much faster than bricks-and-mortar retail as shoppers are lured by low prices, convenience, faster shipping and wide selection.
More brick-and-mortar stores were open on Thanksgiving this year, with retailers such as Target, Sears and Toys R Us joining in, while others including Wal-Mart and Gap either extended their operating hours or had more stores doing business.
Traditionally, stores had waited until Black Friday, the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, to make their big push.
U.S. retailers’ sales over the four-day holiday weekend increased an estimated 12.8 percent, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.
More than 35 million Americans visited retailers’ stores and websites Thursday – up from 29 million last year, according to the survey. Despite concerns that the early Thanksgiving hours would cut into Black Friday results, nearly 89 million Americans still shopped on Black Friday — up 3.1 percent over the 86.2 million who shopped that day last year.