More Consumers Shop Thanksgiving Weekend, But Spend Less

Early results from holiday shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend were a mixed bag as more consumers visited their favorite stores and websites, but spent less on average, according to the National Retail Federation.

Figures from the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics show that 154 million consumers shopped over the holiday weekend, up three million from 2015. The average spend per person was $289.19, down more than $10 from 2015.

“It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals,” said Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO. “In fact, more than one third of shoppers said 100% of their purchases were on sale.”

When it comes to where consumers shopped over the weekend, the NRF survey found that 44% went online and 40% shopped in-store. The most popular day to shop online was Black Friday, up 1.3% from last year to 74%; followed by Saturday (49%); Thanksgiving (36%), and Sunday (34%). Of those consumers who shopped in store, 75% shopped on Black Friday, up 3.4% from last year; 40% on Saturday; 35% on Thanksgiving and 17% on Sunday.

The survey found that of those that shopped in store, 51% shopped at department stores, 34% at discount stores, 32% at electronics stores, 28% at clothing or accessories stores, and 25% at grocery/supermarket stores.

In addition, more consumers slept in on Black Friday and hit the stores later than in 2015. The NRF reported that 29% of shoppers headed out after 10 a.m. on Black Friday, up from 24% last year. Less than 15% of consumers arrived to the stores by 6 a.m. or earlier on Black Friday. Early Thanksgiving Day in-store shopping dropped by 19% with only 7% of consumers heading to stores before 5 p.m., while shopping that day itself was up 1%.

Millennials (ages 18 to 34) continue to drive the increase in shopping during Thanksgiving Weekend. Eight in 10 shopped over the weekend, of which 25 to 34-year olds shopped the most in store (56%) and online (62%).

“Millennials are keeping retailers on their toes when it comes to Thanksgiving weekend shopping not just for their friends and family, but also themselves,” said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper’s principal analyst. “However, Millennials are not the only ones taking advantage of great promotions, today’s consumers, across ages, are savvy about when and where they shop.”

The survey, which asked 4,330 consumers about Thanksgiving weekend shopping plans, was conducted November 25-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5% points.