* 30 pct said they shopped on Thanksgiving - Reuters/Ipsos poll

* 29 pct said they shopped on Black Friday

* First time for 32 percent of Thanksgiving in-store shoppers

By Jessica Wohl

Dec 5 (Reuters) - Opening their doors and offering sales on Thanksgiving did more than give retailers an early start to the holiday shopping season - the holiday actually may have drawn more shoppers than "Black Friday."

Thirty percent of Americans surveyed in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll said they shopped either online or in stores this past Thanksgiving Day, slightly more than shopped on the day after, which is typically the biggest shopping day of the year.

Of those who said that they shopped in stores on Thanksgiving, it was the first time for nearly one-third of respondents, suggesting that moving sales events into the evening and even earlier on the holiday wooed shoppers.

"People are adjusting to the changes and they're not as upset that it's on Thanksgiving, I guess," said Jharonne Martis, director of consumer research for Thomson Reuters.

Retailers including Gap Inc and Sears Holdings Corp held special sales during Thanksgiving Day itself, while chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Walmart and Target Corp waited until after the country had digested holiday meals to offer their big discounts. Walmart started its specials at 8 p.m., the earliest start ever, while Target opened its stores at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving for the first time.

A total of 30 percent of 3,815 respondents said they shopped on Thanksgiving, while 29 percent said that they shopped on Black Friday. Twenty percent of shoppers said they visited stores on Thanksgiving and 15 percent said they shopped online that day. People could choose more than one response.

To be sure, the difference in Thanksgiving and Black Friday shoppers is one percentage point. But the results are the latest data that hammer home not only how much more important Thanksgiving Day is becoming, but also how Black Friday shopping has receded a bit.

Black Friday is still a huge day for retailers but is losing significance as chains start promotions earlier in the week both in stores and online. ShopperTrak, which measures foot traffic at stores across the country, estimated that sales fell 1.8 percent on Black Friday itself yet rose 2.7 percent for the overall weekend, which included Thanksgiving day.

Shoppers continued to keep an eye on their finances, with 38 percent of Black Friday shoppers saying they spent less than they had budgeted, 47 percent staying right on budget, and 15 percent going over budget, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll. Nearly one-third said that they spent less on Black Friday than they had that day in 2011.

"Consumers are very cautious and careful about their spending habits," said Martis. "One thing the recession taught them is to always save for a rainy day and now we're seeing that also correlates with their shopping habits."

Forty-three percent of 1,300 respondents polled from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 said they plan to spend less on jewelry than they did during the 2011 holiday season, while only 7 percent said they plan to spend more on jewelry. That highlights the pressure on chains such as Tiffany & Co Inc, Zale Corp and Signet Jewelers Ltd.

Meanwhile, 21 percent of those 1,300 respondents said they plan to spend more on food this holiday season, while roughly a third said they planned to spend less on clothing, toys and electronics this season versus last year.

Superstorm Sandy was also cutting into shoppers' budgets, with almost three of out of every 10 of the 423 people surveyed in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut saying that the storm cut into their holiday shopping budgets either a little or a great deal. Nationally, that figure was 9 percent.


DEPARTMENT STORES WIN ON BLACK FRIDAY

More than 20 percent of the Black Friday shoppers said they spent less than $50 that day, while nearly 20 percent spent $100 to $199.

Department stores were the top destination on Black Friday, with 46 percent of the 1,100 who said that they shopped that day visiting those stores. Discount chains were next, with 39 percent of Black Friday shoppers, and electronics stores garnered visits from 30.2 percent of those who headed out on the busy day.

Thanksgiving fell on Nov. 22 this year. The findings regarding Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping are from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters from midnight on Nov. 22 through Dec. 3, 2012, with 3,815 American adults interviewed online. Results on spending within categories versus last year come from 1,300 respondents polled from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3.

Results are within the poll's credibility intervals, a tool used to account for statistical variation in Internet-based polling. The credibility interval was plus or minus 1.8 percentage points for questions answered by the full panel of 3,815, 3.4 percentage points for the questions answered by the 1,100 who said that they shopped on Black Friday, and 3.1 percent for the 1,300 asked about spending within categories.

The poll is the latest in a series that Ipsos will conduct during the holiday season. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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  • Consumers shop early morning hours Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Target store in the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • Consumer Ilda Telamid, far right, shops for discounted boots in the early morning hours Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Glendale Galleria mall Macy's store in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • A Lifeguard model stands outside the front door of a Hollister Co. clothing store, as consumers line up on the early morning hours Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • Young consumers shop early on the early morning hours at the GAP store offering a "Entire Store Up to 60% Discount" ad Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • Black Friday shopping

    Shoppers leave the Walmart store in southeast Portland where a line wrapped around the store for an 8 p.m. special Thursday Nov. 22, 2012. At least three Portland Police Bureau vehicles were parked in front of the store after Facebook postings by Occupy Portland targeted the store. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Randy L. Rasmussen)

  • Arthur Vardaman

    Arthur Vardaman of Madison, Miss., carefully places a new television into the trunk of his car outside a Best Buy store in Jackson, Miss., Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, as shoppers still are lined up waiting to enter the store. A number of national retailers pushed the start of the holiday buying season by starting sales on Thanksgiving Day, but Best Buy waited until a minute past midnight Friday to open its doors. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Best Buy electronics store employees, at far right and left, open doors to shoppers for a Black Friday sale that began at midnight, in Broomfield, Colo., early Friday Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Chris Dispenza, Jayde Dispenza

    Chris Dispenza of Vicksburg, Miss., tries to keep his daughter Jayde Dispenza, 8, awake as they wait to enter a Best Buy store in Jackson, Miss., Friday morning, Nov. 23, 2012. The Dispenza's waited in line for a couple of hours before entering the store after midnight. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Customers shop for Black Friday discounts at a Best Buy store, Friday Nov 23, 2012, in Northeast Philadelphia. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Betsy McGonalge

    Betsy McGonagle checks her receipt after shopping for Black Friday discounts at a Target store, Friday Nov 23, 2012, in Northeast Philadelphia. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Customers shop for Black Friday discounts at a Best Buy store, Friday Nov. 23, 2012, in Northeast Philadelphia. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Customers wait in line in the computer department to shop for Black Friday discounts at a Best Buy store, Friday Nov 23, 2012, in Northeast Philadelphia. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Shoppers, at bottom, right to left, Karin Carlson, of Wichita, Kan., her husband Jason, and her cousins Tylar Neu and Christie LaFever wait in line to pay for items for purchase at Best Buy electronics store, after doors opened for a Black Friday sale that started at midnight, in Broomfield, Colo., early Friday Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Terry Hopkins Sr.

    Jackson Police Cpl. Terry Hopkins Sr. watches customers enter Best Buy in Jackson, Miss., for the early Black Friday sales, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Allan Abbott

    Allan Abbott advertises Nintendo Wii U video games he is selling as shoppers drive by outside a shopping complex on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Franklin, Tenn. Abbott said he was able to buy several of the popular games and is selling them below what they can be found for online. Black Friday got off to its earliest start ever as some of the nation's stores opened Thursday night. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

  • Bullseye

    IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR TARGET - Target team members are surprised by a visit from Bullseye, Target's mascot, just before opening their doors Thursday November. 22, 2012 for Black Friday shoppers at the Target store in Roseville, Minn. (Dawn Villella/AP Images For Target)

  • Melissa Gibson, a nursing student at Walter State College, studies for final exams while she waits in line at a Best Buy Store in Knoxville, Tenn. on Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 22 2012. Gibson got in line at 5:30 p.m. joining others to take advantage of Black Friday sales at midnight. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, J. Miles Cary)

  • Dina Jones, right, waits outside a Best Buy Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Jones would like to buy a 40-inch television. The store will open at 12 a.m. on Friday. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

  • Chris Pickwell stretches out on his sleeping bag on the sidewalk in front of a Best Buy in Knoxville, Tenn., on Thanksgiving evening, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Pickwell is looking to get a 40-inch television, a tablet computer and a Blu-ray player when the electronic store opens its doors at midnight on Friday. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, J. Miles Cary)

  • Stefan Rood, 20, folds blankets as he cleans out his tent outside a Best Buy Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. while waiting for the store to open at 12 a.m. on Friday. Rood, who has been camped out since Wednesday night, is looking to buy a new cell phone. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

  • Black Friday shoppers wait outside of Best Buy on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in Lynchburg, Va. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/News & Daily Advance, Sam O'Keefe)

  • Shoppers wait in line outside of a Best Buy store in Colma, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Shoppers wait in line for the 8 p.m. opening of the Times Square Toys-R-Us store in the lead-up to Black Friday, November 22, 2012, in New York. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)