Shoppers Pull Back for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

AP photo.

Morning Money Memo…

Are many shoppers becoming immune to marketing circulars and hype surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Walmart launched many of its Black Friday discounts early, and many retailers have declared today the start of Cyber Week. It's not just Monday any more.

The holiday shopping season is off to a disappointing start for many retailers. A non-scientific survey by the National Retail Federation finds shopper spending over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped for the first time in at least seven years. Foot traffic was up and stores attracted more people with early discounts and Thanksgiving day openings. Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell a week later in the season this year, leading stores to push earlier deals.

Over the four-day weekend, spending is estimated to reach $57.4 billion, down 2.9 percent from last year. The retailers' trade group also says consumers are cautious about spending.

Today's Cyber Monday numbers could rise compared with last year because of two trends. Some of the season's must-have items include tech, from new smartphones to gaming systems by Sony and Microsoft, and tablet upgrades by Apple and its rivals. Each year more consumers go online instead of doing all their shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

The delivery business for online shoppers is becoming more intense and competitive than ever. Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos says his firm is testing drones to deliver packages. Bezos played a video on the CBS show "60 Minutes" of how the small unmanned aircraft could work. Amazon has been spending tens of millions of dollars on local warehouses across the country to boost same-day deliveries for online orders. Drones could cut the delivery time to under an hour.

Movie goers did spend more money this year during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" earned a prodigious $75 million, while Disney's 3-D animated musical "Frozen" opened with $67 million, according to studio estimates. Both films bested the previous Thanksgiving record holder, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," which earned $57.5 million in 2001 over a three-day period. "Frozen" is now the biggest Thanksgiving wide release opener ever.

Stock futures rose this morning. The market logged its longest streak of weekly gains in a decade. The S&P 500 ended November with a 2.8 percent increase - up for the third month in a row, and up nearly 27 percent this year. Investors will gain more insight on the economy this week. The Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for November this morning. The Commerce Department is reporting today on construction spending for September and October. Later this week a report on new homes sales will be released, and on Friday the Labor Department will issue the November employment report.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow