Shoppers walk by discount Black Friday signs in Times Square on Black Friday in New York City. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 3 (UPI) -- National Retail Federation said Tuesday a record of nearly 190 million Americans shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.
The record 189.6 million shoppers was up 14 percent over last year's 165.8 million, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics said in a statement Tuesday.
"Americans continue to start their holiday shopping earlier in the year, and Thanksgiving is still a critical weekend for millions," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the statement. "Even those who typically wait until the last minute to purchase gifts turned out in record numbers all weekend long."
The average spent on holiday items over the five-day period was $361.90, up 16 percent from $313.29 during the same period last year. Most of the holiday spending -- 71 percent -- was spent on gifts.
Young adults, ages 25-34, were "the biggest spenders," with average spending of $440.46, followed by ages 35-44, with average spending of $439.72, the NRF said.
More people shopped online at 142.2 million shoppers than in stores at 124 million shoppers, NRF survey found, with 75.7 million using retailers' websites to shop along with shopping in stores.
Black Friday was the busiest day for in-store shopping with 84.2 million shoppers, but more U.S. consumers shopped online than in stores and more shopped online Friday than Cyber Monday for the first time, NRF said.
On Black Friday, 93.2 million shopped online compared to Cyber Monday with 83.3 million online shoppers.
Among top gift purchases, were clothing, toys, electronics, books, music, movies, video games and gift cards.
The NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1-Dec. 31 and has forecast sales to total between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion with consumers spending an average of $1047.83, up 4 percent from $1,007.24 last year.
Consumers, on average, said they completed 52 percent of their shopping, which is up from 44 percent during the same weekend last year, although Thanksgiving came six days earlier in 2018, the NRF said.
The NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French issued a separate statement Tuesday about the effects of tariffs and the trade war with China.
The statement came in response to President Donald Trump telling reporters in London, where he is attending the NATO summit, that he might wait until after the 2020 election to strike a trade deal with China.
"We want and need to see a deal as soon as possible," French said in the statement. "The tariffs continue to hurt U.S. businesses, workers and consumers and are a substantial drag on the U.S. economy. Waiting another year to resolve the cost and uncertainty of the trade war is a bad deal not just for retailers and their customers but every segment of the economy from farmers who export their crops to small manufacturers who rely on imported parts and materials. We agree that we need to restate our relationship with China on a number of levels but we need to bring resolution to this issue rather than delay it."
The NRF said that tariffs in the trade war with China did not hurt holiday spending over the weekend, but estimates consumers have paid $40 billion because of increased cost from tariffs already in place.
Trump said Monday he would revive punitive tariffs on metals imported from Argentina and Brazil due to "massive devaluation" of their respective currencies.
The NRF has also been opposed to steel and aluminum tariffs, calling it a "self-inflicted wound on the nation's economy."
The president has imposed a number of tariffs on foreign-made products and a new round of tariffs for Chinese products is set to take effect Dec. 15.