NPD: Thanksgiving Weekend Gains In Holiday Shopping Prominence

The holiday 2017 shopping season will be the first when more consumers in the U.S. start shopping in the mid-season Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday period rather than later, according to The NPD Group.

The market research firm’s 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey indicated that fewer consumers foresee getting a late start to the holiday shopping season.

In terms of timing, the biggest shift in holiday shopping that occurred in recent years was when brick-and-mortar retailers introduced earlier store openings on Thanksgiving Day, 2014. In 2017, about 30% of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend compared to the 12% to 16% before 2014.

NPD pointed out that another important dynamic factors into developments: The largest increase in online shopping plans also occurred in 2014, when 59% of consumers planned to shop online during the holiday season, up from 43% in 2013. Consumer plans to shop online for the holidays have climbed steadily in recent years and, in the 2017 holiday period, two-thirds of consumers plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online.

“The consumer that used to wait until after Thanksgiving weekend now shops during it,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD chief industry analyst. “Despite all the efforts in recent years to get shoppers shopping before Black Friday week, we see little to no movement early in the season, but the last-minute shoppers have moved their timing up. The excitement of Thanksgiving Day store openings has now faded, making them a low-risk, low-reward proposition. While choosing to close on the holiday will not be detrimental to those retailers, the retailers who open won’t see a significant boost this year either. The boost we will see during the peak Thanksgiving week shopping period of the 2017 holiday season will come from online sales. Online will continue to grow.”