Nov 17, 2023

Record Number Of Shoppers Expected During Thanksgiving Weekend, Says NRF

The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics have released their annual survey of holiday shoppers, revealing that more people than ever are planning to shop during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year. The survey estimates that 182 million people will shop in-store and online from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, which is 15.7 million more people (+8.6%) than last year and the highest estimate since NRF began tracking this data in 2017.

The survey also shows that three-quarters (74%) of holiday shoppers plan to shop during this period this year, up from 69% pre-pandemic, in 2019. The main reasons for shopping during this time are the attractive deals (61%) and the tradition (28%) of finding the perfect gifts for friends and loved ones.

Black Friday remains the most popular day to shop, with 72% (130.7 million) of those planning to shop over the weekend, up from 69% in 2022. Cyber Monday follows closely, with 39% (71.1 million) of shoppers, on par with 38% last year.

The survey also indicates that 59% of holiday shoppers have already started browsing and buying for the holiday season as of early November, as they try to get a head start on their shopping. On average, holiday shoppers have completed one-quarter (25%) of their planned purchases. Gifts are the most common items that shoppers have bought so far, with nearly half (48%) of holiday shoppers having purchased gifts this holiday season. Other items include decorations (18%) and gifts for themselves (17%).

Phil Rist, Executive Vice President of Strategy, Prosper Insights & Analytics, said, “Early shopping is a trend we have been tracking for several years, and this year, there is evidence the deals and promotions from October resonated with consumers. More than 40% of shoppers say they took advantage of retailers’ October sales to shop specifically for holiday gifts, décor and other seasonal items.”

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said that retailers have been preparing for months for this occasion and are ready to help customers find the gifts and other items they want at great prices during the entire holiday season. NRF forecast earlier this month that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November and December and will grow between 3% and 4%, totalling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion. By comparison, last year holiday sales totalled $929.5 billion. This year’s holiday spending is consistent with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6% from 2010 to 2019.

The survey was conducted from 1st-6th November and asked 8,424 adult consumers about their holiday shopping plans. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.