Despite the sluggish economy, more than 172 million shoppers hit the pavement and the keyboard to take advantage of Thanksgiving weekend sales in stores and online. The number of shoppers over the Black Friday weekend — Thursday, Friday, Saturday and expected shopping on Sunday — rose 17 percent from 147 million shoppers in 2007, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

Weekend shoppers spent an average of $372.57, up 7.2 percent from last year’s spending of $347.55. NRF estimated shoppers spent a total of $41.0 billion throughout the weekend. NRF projects total holiday sales will increase 2.2 percent this year to $470.4 billion.

Friday was the busiest shopping day of the four-day period and shoppers showed up early that morning to take advantage of sales; 23.3 percent of shoppers arrived by 5 a.m. and 57.6 percent of shoppers entered stores by 9 a.m.

The survey, conducted by BIGresearch, indicated that
50.9 percent of shoppers purchased clothing or clothing accessories
39.0 percent purchased books, CDs, videos or video games
35.9 percent purchased consumer electronics.

Similar to last year, more than half of shoppers — 54.7 percent — visited discount stores, while 43.0 percent shopped at traditional department store and 34.0 percent shopped online, with online shoppers spending an average of $117.29 over the weekend.

Retailers expect more online shopping today with many sites offering Cyber Monday deals.

Check out Ilyce’s blog entries from yesterday for some online resources that list deals.

Published: Dec 1, 2008