Sales on one of America’s busiest shopping days, Black Friday, were marginally ahead of 2008, but shoppers steered clear of higher priced items to hunt out bargains.

US shoppers moved away from full price merchandise and luxury items on Friday, which fell the day after the Thanksgiving and is the day consumers traditionally storm the shops. 195m shoppers visited stores and went online, up from 172m in 2008.

The average spend, at $343.31 per person for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, was substantially down from last year’s $372.57, indicating a desire for discounted and cut-price stock, according to analysts.

Total spend over the weekend was 0.5% higher than last year, at $41.2bn.

Hardest hit by price-conscious shoppers were the luxury retailers, which failed to capitalise on the increased footfall, according to industry observers.