NRF Survey Reports Rise In Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping

According to a National Retail Federation survey, more than 141 million unique shoppers shopped by the end of the big Thanksgiving weekend, up from 139 million over the same time frame last year. For those who shopped multiple times over the weekend, the survey found more than 248 million waited in line, a slight increase from 247 million shoppers last year.

The NRF survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics over the weekend, reported that traffic on Thanksgiving Day itself grew 27% as nearly 45 million shoppers, or 31.8% of holiday shoppers, took advantage of special “turkey day” savings offers, up from 35 million in 2012. Black Friday was the biggest day: more than 92 million people shopped (65.2%) for apparel, electronics and more, up from nearly 89 million last year.

Low prices and aggressive discounts, and the fact that many holiday shoppers started shopping earlier than ever this year contributed to a slight decline in average spending. According to the survey, shoppers spent an average of $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday, down from $423.55 last year. Total spending is estimated to reach $57.4 billion. NRF is still expecting total holiday sales to increase 3.9% to $602 billion.

“Cold weather, unique promotions and unbeatable prices put millions of Americans in the mood to shop for holiday gifts this weekend,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers’ late night and early morning promotions struck just the right chord for those hoping to kick off the holiday shopping season with friends and family. With only a few weeks until the big day, retailers will continue to aggressively promote their in-store and online offerings, looking to entice today’s very budget-conscious and value-focused shopper.”

The NRF noted that one-quarter (25.4%) of holiday shoppers said they were at stores by 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night; nearly four in 10 (37.3%) were at stores by midnight, up from 28% last year. More than one-third (35.8%) didn’t arrive at stores until 10 a.m. or later.

Consumers also spent more of their holiday budgets online. According to the survey, four in 10 (42.1%) indicated they shopped online over the weekend, or approximately 59 million shoppers. Of those, the average person spent $177.67 online over the weekend. NRF also asked shoppers which days they shopped online. More than one-quarter (26.5%) of holiday shoppers said they shopped online on Thanksgiving Day, and nearly half (47.1%) shopped online on Black Friday. Additionally, 35.7% shopped online on Saturday and 24.5% shopped online on Sunday.

According to the survey, almost half (49.2%) of holiday shoppers over the weekend sought out information about promotions and sales via advertising circulars, and one-third (33%) conducted online searches to find the best deals. Additionally, 36.8% made sure to keep track of emails from retailers, 16.4% reviewed retail companies’ Facebook accounts for information and 12.2% browsed stores to find bargains and sales.