NRF: 180 Million People Shopped Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Nearly 180 million Americans shopped during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday (Nov. 29), according to the annual survey released Nov. 30 by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The tally, which exceeded the trade group’s initial estimates by 21 million, trailed last year’s total of more than 186 million. The data underscores the reality that the winter holiday shopping season has expanded to begin before Thanksgiving. Indeed, 49% of survey respondents said they took advantage of pre-holiday sales.

“Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season,” Matthew Shay, CEO of the NRF, said in a statement.

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The number of people who shopped in stores increased this year. Retailers saw an increase in foot traffic, with approximately 104.9 million shoppers visiting stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020. The overall number of online shoppers decreased to a total of 127.8 million, from 145.4 million last year.

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. The importance of supporting local businesses remained top of mind for many consumers, with 71% indicating they were shopping specifically for “Small Business Saturday.” Similarly to recent years, Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday in terms of total online shoppers, with 88 million shopping online the Friday after Thanksgiving, compared with 77 million on Monday.

“Over the last few years, Black Friday has emerged as a powerhouse day for both in-store and online shopping,” said Phil Rist, EVP at Prosper Insights & Analytics. “Even though many consumers are starting their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, a considerable portion of their purchases are still made over the course of the five-day weekend.”

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