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NRF: Record 196M Consumers Shop Over Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

November 30, 2022

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 by the National Retail Federation 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 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.”

According to the survey, more than three-quarters (76%) of consumers say they shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up from 70% in 2021. The numbers shattered NRF’s initial expectations by more than 30 million.

Retailers saw a sizable uptick of in-store shoppers. More than 122.7 million people visited bricks-and-mortar stores over the weekend, up 17% from 2021. The number of online shoppers also grew, albeit at a slower pace. This year saw 130.2 million online shoppers, a 2% increase over 2021.

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. A majority (77%) of Saturday shoppers indicated they shopped specifically for Small Business Saturday.

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% of online Cyber Monday shoppers used their mobile device, up from 52% in 2021.

The top destinations for Thanksgiving weekend shoppers were online (42%), department stores (42%), grocery stores and supermarkets (40%), clothing and accessories stores (36%) and discount stores (32%).

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, most ($229.21) was directed specifically toward gifts.

The vast majority of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers (90%) 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 (47%) done with their holiday shopping at this point in time, leaving plenty of room for additional purchases in the remaining weeks of the year.”

The top gifts purchased were clothing and accessories (bought by 50% of those surveyed), toys (31%), gift cards (27%), books/video games/other media (24%), food and candy (23%) and electronics (23%).

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. More than half (56%) of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before Thanksgiving this year. One-quarter (24%) did so before Nov. 16 and another 36% shopped in the week leading up to Thanksgiving (Nov. 16-23).

Jack Peck, Ph.D. the President FastFetch explained:

"The findings of the NRF report were interesting but not surprising.  

Online shopping continues to dominate in-store shopping due to 3 primary factors:

Convenience of not having to travel to a store

Price - online is usually as good or better than in-store, even during Black Friday

Stock outages are usually not a concern - it's a real bummer to travel to a store only to discover the item is sold out!

In-store shopping has an advantage with immediate delivery, although next-day or two-day shopping offered by online merchants is often acceptable.

It will be interesting to see the trend in 2023 if the predicted recession is realized and if an increased price of fuel discourages some customers from traveling to stores. My guess is that online shopping will hold steady or have a slight increase while in-store shopping will decrease."

NRF defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31 and has forecast that retail sales will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.

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.

Bob Bova, the President and CEO of AccuSpeechMobile said. "The record breaking first weekend of the 2022 holiday season was well anticipated by retail and supply chain organizations. Since COVID-19, companies worked on implementing process improvements like automated voice applications to streamline product flow through the various channels. AccuSpeechMobile had never been busier in the warehouse implementing multiple applications to empower workers to use technology that assists them to be better and more productive."

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