NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Black Friday weekend has historically been a leading indicator for how much or little consumers plan to spend during the holiday shopping season. But with retailers extending deals even beyond the five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, consumers have been less inclined to shop over the past weekend.
Early forecasts predicted that Thanksgiving weekend spending actually fell this year by 11% to $50.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF survey estimates that the average consumer will spend $380.95, down 6.4% from last year.
"A strengthening economy that changes consumers' reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
Analysts seem to have varying initial conclusions about consumer spending over the weekend, though some were upbeat like Stifel's David Schick. Here's what he said:
Take advantage of what we see as a false narrative today as conditions are still conducive to better retail performance (consumers improved, strategies improved, market conditions improved with lower rates y/y). We have no retail sources or work that suggests the NRF implications is near the situation. We continue to see Best Buy (BBY) (Buy) and Target (TGT) (Buy) as holiday winners in big-box and other compelling retail situations. Lots of speculative headlines happen this time of year, but we know that a broader spectrum of consumers are in better shape (on a y/y basis) than the last few years, and retailers are more realistic and prepared for the e-commerce threat.