WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. consumers spent about 44.5 billion U.S. dollars during this Thanksgiving weekend, slightly below a year ago, the largest U.S. retail trade association said on Sunday.
More than 154 million consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, 2 percent above the 151 million shoppers in 2015, attracted by strong deals and promotions, said the National Retail Federation (NRF) based on its survey.
"It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "In fact, over one third of shoppers said 100 percent of their purchases were on sale."
Average spending per person over Thanksgiving weekend totaled 289.19 dollars, about 3.5 percent lower than 299.6 dollars last year, making the total spending 1.56 percent lower than the level in 2015, said the NRF.
Most of total purchases, 74 percent, went toward gifts with an average of 214.13 dollars per person, it added.
Stronger sales were expected in the rest holiday season as less people have finished their holiday shopping compared with last year.
The survey found that only nine percent of consumers have finished their holiday shopping, down from 11 percent last year. While 23 percent have yet to make any dents to their lists, up from 19 percent last year, said the NRF.
"With mid-season shopping behind us, it's not too late for retailers to tweak their online and in-store strategies to help increase traffic and see a big payoff during the last few weeks of the holiday season," Shay said.
More Americans were expected to shop on the Monday just behind the Thanksgiving weekend, or known as Cyber Monday, the largest U.S. online shopping festival, in which retailers will offer large discounts and promotions for online products.
The number of Americans who plan to shop on Cyber Monday this year will increase from the 121 million to 122 million, as shopping online becomes more convenient than ever before, said the NRF.
The total retail sales excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales in this year's holiday season from November to December were expected to reach 655.8 billion dollars, 3.6 percent higher than the level in 2015, better than the average level of 3.4 percent since 2009, because stronger U.S. economic fundamentals have driven income gains, according to a NRF forecast released in October.