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It appears Americans have lost their craze about Black Friday!

With the convenience of shopping all the way through December and with discounts starting many days before Black Friday this year is the first time online retail sales in the US (as well for brick-and-mortar) was down year over year.

Sales, both in stores and online, from Thanksgiving through the weekend were estimated to have dropped 11 percent, to $50.9 billion from $57.4 billion last year, according to preliminary survey results released Sunday by the National Retail Federation.

Discounting was equally present online as in physical stores, but the Web failed to attract more people and increased spend this year. On average, people who shopped over the weekend spent $159.55 at online retailers, down 10.2 percent from last year, but still representing 42% of total retail sales.

133.7 million people planned to shop at stores or online over the four-day weekend, down 5.2 percent from last year, the NFR said. And shoppers spent an average of $380.95 over the four days, 6.4 percent less than the $407.02 they spent last year.

It will be interesting for all of us to watch the developments for the rest of the season, as most companies had predicted a stronger holiday shopping season with the economy gaining steam — at least on paper. The question is whether the average American is holding back on spending because they are not yet feeling the economic lift, or whether we are just seeing a shift away from this specific weekend. Certainly the latter would be better for the digital advertising industry and the US economy overall. More to come..

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