The five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday saw about 180 million Americans making in-store and online purchases, according to the National Retail Federation’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Consumer Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday-related purchases such as gifts, décor, apparel and toys.
The number of unique shoppers totaled 179.8 million during the period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday this year, compared to 186.4 million shoppers in the same period of 2020, 189.6 million in 2019 and 165.8 million in 2018. This even exceeded NRF’s initial expectations by over 21 million and was a tad above the four year average of 179.1 million.
“Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
This year shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday items in the five-day period, which is slightly down from $311.75 spent during the same period in 2020. The major chunk of about $215.40 out of the total was spent directly on purchasing gifts.
The survey showed that nearly half or 49 percent of shoppers took advantage of the pre-Thanksgiving holiday sales or promotions as retailers put out deals and other offers as early as October and early November. Meanwhile, 82 percent of the shoppers felt the deals were the same or better than last year’s Thanksgiving weekend.
There was an uptick in the number shoppers who shopped in-stores this year, with about 104.9 million shoppers visiting stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020. However, online shoppers decreased to a total of 127.8 million from 145.4 million last year.
According to the survey, Black Friday remained the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 66.5 million shoppers, followed by 51 million shoppers on Small Business Saturday. About 71 percent of the shoppers indicated that they supported Small Business Saturday.
As for online shoppers, Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday in terms of total online shoppers as is usual, with 88 million shopping online on Friday, compared to 77 million on Monday.
Among the top gift purchases, 51 percent of those surveyed bought clothing and accessories, 32 percent bought toys, 28 percent bought gift cards, 27 percent bought books, music, movies or video games and 24 percent bought electronics.
With holiday shopping offers out earlier this year, about 84 percent of holiday shoppers reported that they have already started shopping and have completed more than half or 52 percent of their holiday purchases on average.
Looking ahead to the 2021 holiday season, defined by NRF as being from November 1 through December 31, NRF expects sales to increase between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.
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