Promising Start to Holiday Shopping Season

November 28, 2011 Updated Nov 28, 2011 at 9:55 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

November 28, 2011 Updated Nov 28, 2011 at 9:55 PM EDT

Buffalo,NY (WKBW)- The holiday shopping season is off to a very strong start. Nationally, shoppers spent a record breaking $11.4 billion at retail stores on Black Friday. They're expected to keep spending online for Cyber Monday. According to the National Retail Federation, it's estimated that more than 120 million Americans will enjoy deals from retailers on Cyber Monday and businesses are all smiles following a record breaking holiday weekend of spending.

"Free shipping, gifts with purchase, percentages off, and dollars off your purchase are very popular," said Kathy Grannis of the National Retail Federation. "From what we're hearing there's just as much excitement from online shoppers compared to those who hit the stores."

Eager shoppers mean big business for locally owned shops and boutiques. This year, countless associations pushed to promote buying local and organizers believe it was successful. On Elmwood Avenue Friday, thousands walked the sidewalks to participate in the first ever boutique crawl.

"We had literally, thousands of people," said Elmwood Village Association Executive Director Justin Azzarella. "It was bustling."

Local businesses are thrilled, since more and more people are discovering and supporting locally owned companies.

"We're all small businesses and if people don't shop from us, the spirit of small mom-and-pop businesses will die," said Omar Zahzouhi, owner of Animal Outfitters Inc. "I was so happy to see so many people coming in."