Despite lingering concerns about the economy, shoppers showed up in droves nationally and in the Baltimore/D.C. suburbs to score merchandise at discounted prices during Black Friday, data shows.
The National Retail Federation reports that the average holiday shopper spent $398.62 this weekend, up from $365.34 last year.
Total spending reached an estimated $52.4 billion, a 16.7 percent increase over the same time last year, according to the Washington Post.
The spending increases came as stores like Macy’s, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Walmart opened their doors for shoppers on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly one-quarter of shoppers were at stores by midnight on Black Friday, according to the retail survey.
In the Baltimore/D.C. region, indications are that shoppers enthusiastically participated in Black Friday promotions.
On Thanksgiving night, at the , which had 21 stores open at midnight, according to the Baltimore Sun.
"A lot of people seemed like they had been up all night shopping," Katie Essing, general manager at The Mall in Columbia, told the Sun Friday.
Nigel Barthalomew, 26, of Laurel, who participated in Black Friday shopping.
While hundreds lined up outside Best Buy in Laurel on Thursday night for Black Friday, Barthalomew was one of the first.
“What you save here in one day pays for itself,” said Barthalomew, who along with his wife and friend, were hoping to snatch up a 42-inch flat screen television for $200 due to the Black Friday discount. “I love doing this.”
Anecdotally, small business owners reported a slight bump over the holiday weekend as well, especially on , a day designated for small business holiday shopping.
“Traffic's been steady all day today and yesterday so I think it's been a really good turn out," Chris McCaslin, an owner of Main Street Sykesville's , told . "It's been great to have the support. We love this area, the town's great, the people are great and we're just really glad to be here."
-with reporting by Joshua Garner