The Thanksgiving holiday weekend saw a record-breaking number of consumers engaging in shopping.
Over the five days from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, 200.4 million shoppers participated, surpassing last year’s record of 196.7 million, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights and Analytics said in a Tuesday (Nov. 28) press release.
This exceeded the NRF’s initial expectations by over 18 million shoppers, according to the release.
“Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the release. “Retailers large and small were prepared to deliver safe, convenient and affordable shopping experiences with the products and services consumers needed, and at great prices.”
Consumers embraced both online and in-store channels during the holiday weekend, the release said. Approximately 121.4 million people visited physical retail locations, while 134.2 million opted for online shopping.
Black Friday remained the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 76.2 million shoppers flocking to brick-and-mortar locations, per the release. Black Friday also continued its dominance as the most popular day for online shopping, with approximately 90.6 million consumers making online purchases.
The top gifts purchased during the five-day period included clothing and accessories, toys, gift cards, books, video games, and personal care or beauty items, according to the release.
“This year is the first time personal care and beauty items were among the top five most popular gifts purchased over Thanksgiving weekend, with nearly one-quarter of shoppers purchasing these items,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said in the release.
Sales and promotions played a role in driving consumer purchases during the holiday weekend, the release said. On average, 55% of Thanksgiving weekend purchases were motivated by sales and promotions. Additionally, 31% of shoppers said that limited-time offers influenced their decision to make a purchase they were initially hesitant about.
Retailers have responded to the early holiday demand by offering sales and promotions throughout the season, per the release. Fifty-five percent of consumers took advantage of early holiday sales, and 35% specifically engaged in shopping during the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
As of the Thanksgiving weekend, most consumers had already begun their holiday shopping, with 85% having started and 48% being halfway done, the release said.
The NRF said Nov. 2 that it predicts holiday spending will reach record levels this year. The organization expects spending for the entire holiday season, which spans from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, to grow between 3% and 4% and total $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion.
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