A record 190M Americans shopped Thanksgiving weekend, most of them online

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A record 189.6 million Americans went shopping over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, the National Retail Federation said Tuesday, and most of them did their spending online.

The new bar represents a 14% increase from last year, the industry lobbying group said. Some 142 million consumers shopped online, 124 million flocked to stores and roughly 76 million did both.

“Americans continue to start their holiday shopping earlier in the year, and Thanksgiving is still a critical weekend for millions,” Matthew Shay, president of NRF, said in a statement.

Consumers spent an average of $361.90 between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, a 16% increase from last year. The NRF did not release full sales figures for the period, which is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season that ends Dec. 31.

But this year, the nation’s largest retailers began offering holiday discounts in October in hopes of getting consumers to open their wallets earlier. In all, Americans are expected to spend about $730 billion this holiday season, or 4% more than last year, according to NRF estimates.

The shorter holiday shopping season, combined with President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade wars and other economic and political uncertainties, have fueled fears that consumers could pull back at any point.

There are also signs that consumers are taking on more debt to pay for their purchases, which economists say could spell trouble for the economy. Personal loans have risen more than 10% since last year, according to recent data from Equifax.

Cyber Monday spending, meanwhile, hit a record $9.4 billion, which is 20% higher than the $7.9 billion recorded last year, making it the largest online shopping day in history, according to Adobe Analytics. About one-third of those purchases were made on smartphones.

The average consumer purchased 6% more this Cyber Monday than they did last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of the country’s 100 largest online retailers. The day’s top sellers included "Frozen 2" toys, Nintendo Switch gaming console, Samsung TVs and Apple laptops.

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