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The results are in. According to the U.S.-based National Retail Federation, a record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.
According to the annual survey released today the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics, the total number of shoppers grew by nearly 17 million from 2021 and is the highest figure since NRF first started tracking this data in 2017. The survey of 3,326 adult consumers was conducted November 23-27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.
“The Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend is a tradition treasured by many American families,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible. Retailers have responded accordingly, offering shoppers a season of buying convenience, matching sales and promotions across online and in-store channels to accommodate their customers at each interaction.
“It is important to note that while some may claim that retail sales gains are the result of higher prices, they must acknowledge the historic growth in consumers who are shopping in-store and online during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend and into Cyber Monday. It is consumer demand that is driving growth,” Shay added.
BRICK-AND-MORTAR OUTDOES ONLINE
According to the survey, 76 percent of consumers say they shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up from 70 percent in 2021. The numbers shattered NRF’s initial expectations by more than 30 million.
Retailers saw a sizable increase in-store shoppers, as well online, which had been reported earlier. More than 122.7 million people visited bricks-and-mortar stores over the weekend, up 17 percent from 2021.
Indeed, in contrast to earlier repports, the number of online shoppers grew at a slower pace. This year saw 130.2 million online shoppers, a 2 percent increase over 2021.
The top gifts purchased were clothing and accessories, including jewelry, which was bought by 50 percent of those surveyed. It was followed by toys, at 31 percent, gift cards at 27 percent, books/video games/other media at 24 percent, and food and candy and electronics, both at 23 percent.
Consumers spent an average of $325.44 on holiday-related purchases over the course of the weekend, up from $301.27 in 2021. Of that amount, $229.21on average was directed specifically toward gifts.
BLACK FRIDAY STILL REIGNS SUPREME
Black Friday continues to reign as the most favored day for in-store shopping. Approximately 72.9 million consumers opted for a more traditional in-person shopping experience, up from 66.5 million in 2021.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving followed suit, with 63.4 million in-store shoppers, up from 51 million last year. Some 77 percent of Saturday shoppers indicated they shopped specifically for Small Business Saturday, the survey said.
Black Friday was also the most popular day for online shopping, continuing a trend that started in 2019. Roughly 87.2 million consumers shopped online during Black Friday this year, in line with 2021.
Similar to last year, 77 million people shopped online on Cyber Monday. A record 59 percent of online Cyber Monday shoppers used their mobile device, up from 52 percent in 2021.
The vast majority of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers, some 90 percent,felt the deals were the same or better than last year.
“While Thanksgiving is no longer the starting point for holiday shopping, the five-day shopping period still plays an important role in the overall holiday season,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “On average, consumers say they are almost halfway done with their holiday shopping at this point in time, leaving plenty of room for additional purchases in the remaining weeks of the year.”
While early deals and sales did entice some to shop before mid-November, many still save the bulk of their shopping for November and December. Some 56 percent of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before Thanksgiving this year, while 24 percent did so before November 16 and another 36 percent shopped in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
NRF defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31 and has forecast that general retail sales will grow between 6 percent and 8 percent over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.