Walmart in Snellville Thanksgiving night.
NEW YORK -- If you make holiday shopping convenient, Americans will come in droves.
A survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday suggests that shoppers hit stores and websites in record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend. They were attracted by retailers' efforts to make shopping easier, including opening stores on Thanksgiving evening, updating mobile shopping applications for smartphones and tablets, and expanding shipping and layaway options.
According to the survey of 4,000 shoppers that was conducted by research firm BIGinsight for the trade group, a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the four-day weekend starting on Thanksgiving. That's up 9.2 percent over last year. Americans spent more too: The average holiday shopper spent $423 over the entire weekend, up from $398. Total spending over the four-day weekend totaled $59.1 billion, up 12.8 percent from 2011.
Now, it's Cyber Monday's turn.
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Cyber Monday, coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed a spike in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving when people returned to their work computers, is the next in a line of days that stores are counting on to jumpstart the holiday shopping season.
This year's Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row: According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up from $1.25 billion last year on Cyber Monday, as retailers ramp up deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.