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NPD: Retailers Benefit From Opening On Thanksgiving

The decision by some leading retailers to open their stores on Thanksgiving Day continues to stir debate about the financial benefits of giving consumers the option to shop on the holiday.

Research from The NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking service shows there may be a benefit to those stores that open on the last Thursday of November.

According to NPD, Thanksgiving Day 2015 was the No. 2 ranked in-store shopping day, based on the average amount spent per shopper, with Black Friday 2015 ranked No. 1.

While the number of buyers in stores was less on Black Friday (44% share of all 2015 buyers) and Thanksgiving (26%) than on the Saturday before Christmas (46%), the two November dates topped the charts in terms of shopping dollars spent.

“Though there are several retailers making the decision to close on Thanksgiving Day, enough consumers have demonstrated that they will shop on the holiday to make it worthwhile for most major retailers to open and capture those sales,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The value of getting a deal will always be a draw for a large segment of consumers. Now, retailers need to figure out how to get the attention of those shoppers, whether it is through timing of promotion, expanded store hours, or online flexibility and convenience.”

According to NPD, more than one in six holiday shoppers plan to wait until Black Friday sales to begin their holiday gift shopping. A recent NPD survey found that 62% of consumers said a special sale price would be their biggest motivating factor when making a purchase, while 58% said a combination of value and price would be most important.

With more consumers expected to turn to e-commerce to meet their holiday shopping needs, 52% of consumers said that free shipping offers would be the biggest motivating factor to making a purchase.

“The data shows that holiday shoppers will go to one or two, maximum three stores on these big promotional shopping days,” said Andy Mantis, evp/Checkout Tracking at NPD Group. “Retailers who want to connect with their customers and capture those sales will want to open on Thanksgiving, even for limited hours.”