NRF: Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend Saw Record Number of Shoppers

A record 200.4 million consumers shopped over the five-day holiday weekend from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday (Nov. 27), surpassing last year’s record of 196.7 million, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The figures surpassed NRF’s initial expectations of 182 million shoppers by more than 18 million.

“The five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday represents some of the busiest shopping days of the year and reflects the continued resilience of consumers and strength of the economy,” Matthew Shay, CEO of NRF said in a statement.

Shay said internal results of a survey of 3,498 adult consumers conducted Nov. 22-26, found shoppers exceeded expectations with a robust turnout in stores and online.

The trade group said 121.4 million people frequented physical retail locations, consistent with 122.7 million in-store shoppers in 2022. Online shoppers totaled 134.2 million, up from 130.2 million last year.

Black Friday continued its streak as the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 76.2 million shoppers opting to visit bricks-and-mortar locations, up from 72.9 million in 2022. About 59 million consumers shopped in stores on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, down from 63.4 million last year. On par with last year, 78% of Saturday shoppers shopped specifically for Small Business Saturday.

Black Friday was also the most popular day for online shopping. Roughly 90.6 million consumers shopped online on Nov. 24, up from 87.2 million in 2022. By comparison, approximately 73 million consumers shopped online on Cyber Monday, down slightly from 77 million last year.

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Consistent with last year, about 44 million consumers used their home desktop or laptop to shop online on Cyber Monday. Another 40.5 million shopped online using their mobile devices, down from a record 45.7 million in 2022 but still well above pre-pandemic levels.

The top destinations for Thanksgiving weekend shoppers were online (44%), grocery stores and supermarkets (42%), department stores (40%), clothing and accessories stores (36%) and electronics stores (29%).

The vast majority (95%) of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers made holiday-related purchases during the event, down from 97% last year, but in line with historical levels. Consumers spent $321.41 on average on these types of items, consistent with $325.44 last year. Approximately 70% ($226.55) was spent specifically on gifts.

The top gifts shoppers purchased during the five-day period were clothing and accessories (bought by 49% of those surveyed), toys (31%), gift cards (25%), books, video games and other media (23%), and personal care or beauty items (23%).

Consumers reported that on average, 55% of their Thanksgiving weekend purchases were specifically driven by sales and promotions, up from 52% in 2022. Another 31% said a limited-time sale or promotion convinced them to make a purchase they were hesitant about, up from 29% last year.

Similar to last year, as of Thanksgiving weekend, the majority (85%) of consumers had started holiday shopping and were about halfway (48%) done so far.

NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels and will grow between 3% and 4%, totaling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion.

First-Ever Black Friday NFL Game Highlights Amazon’s Thanksgiving Weekend

In reporting Thanksgiving weekend sales, Amazon Nov. 28 touted the first-ever Black Friday NFL game, which streamed exclusively on Prime Video featuring the New York Jets losing to the Miami Dolphins, 34-13.

Amazon, which paid the NFL $11 billion to exclusively distribute “Thursday Night Football” through 2033, reportedly paid the NFL $100 million to stream the Black Friday game, which featured for the first time in-game shopping features, aimed at melding the company’s legacy e-commerce platform with live-sports streaming.

Commercials during the game featured QR codes that directed viewers to Amazon.com. The company reportedly sold out all third-party ads for game, priced at $900,000 per 30-second spot.

Amazon reported that its extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping event, which began Nov. 17 and continued through Nov. 27, was its biggest ever compared to the same 11-day period ending on Cyber Monday in previous years. The ecommerce behemoth said consumers globally purchased more than 1 billion items on the platform.

Amazon: Thanksgiving Biggest Holiday Shopping Weekend Ever

Amazon Nov. 30 announced that the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend was its biggest ever, with consumers globally purchasing hundreds of millions of products between Nov. 24-28. Among Amazon’s top-selling Thanksgiving weekend items included Echo Dot smart speakers, Fire TV Stick, Apple AirPods, Echo Show and Nintendo Switch.

“This was a record-breaking holiday shopping weekend for Amazon,” Doug Herrington, CEO of WW Amazon Stores, said in a statement.

Adobe Analytics reported that Black Friday (Nov. 25) alone set a new overall ecommerce sales record at $9.12 billion.

Separately, a record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The total number of shoppers grew by nearly 17 million from 2021 and is the highest figure since NRF first started tracking this data in 2017.

“As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible,” Matthew Shay, CEO of NRF, said in a statement. “Retailers have responded accordingly, matching sales and promotions across online and in-store channels to accommodate their customers at each interaction.”

According to the survey, more than 76% of consumers say they shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up from 70% in 2021. The numbers shattered NRF’s initial expectations by more than 30 million.

Retailers saw a sizable uptick of in-store shoppers. More than 122.7 million people visited bricks-and-mortar stores over the weekend, up 17% from 2021. The number of online shoppers also grew, albeit at a slower pace. This year saw 130.2 million online shoppers, a 2% increase over 2021.

Black Friday continues to reign as the most favored day for in-store shopping. Approximately 72.9 million consumers opted for a more traditional in-person shopping experience, up from 66.5 million in 2021. The Saturday after Thanksgiving followed suit, with 63.4 million in-store shoppers, up from 51 million last year. A majority (77%) of Saturday shoppers indicated they shopped specifically for the so-called “small business Saturday” marketing event.

Black Friday was also the most popular day for online shopping, continuing a trend that started in 2019. Roughly 87.2 million consumers shopped online during Black Friday this year, in line with 2021. Similarly to last year, 77 million people shopped online on Cyber Monday. A record 59% of online Cyber Monday shoppers used their mobile device, up from 52% in 2021.

The top destinations for Thanksgiving weekend shoppers were online (42%), department stores (42%), grocery stores and supermarkets (40%), clothing and accessories stores (36%) and discount stores (32%).

Consumers spent an average of $325.44 on holiday-related purchases over the course of the weekend, up from $301.27 in 2021. Of that amount, most ($229.21) was directed specifically toward gifts.

Adobe: Cyber Monday Sales Revenue Topped Black Friday at Nearly $11.8 Billion

Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) online retail sales supplanted the traditional post-Thanksgiving Black Friday as the top-grossing pre-Christmas retail shopping day, according to new data from Adobe Analytics.

The research firm Nov. 29 reported that online shoppers spent $11.79 billion the day before exceeding the $9.12 billion spent on Black Friday. Previous estimates had called for Cyber Monday spending from $11.2 billion to $11.6 billion.

Adobe said significant sellers included home entertainment items such as the Sony PlayStation 5 video game console and Electronic Arts’ Madden 23 video game.

Online revenue through the holiday retail season thus far totals $180 billion is projected to reach $210 billion through Dec. 25.

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With Decline in Disc Sales, Black Friday for Home Entertainment Just Isn’t the Same

Black Friday came and went with some pronounced changes from just a few years ago: Shorter lines, plenty of parking, and fewer elbows from shoppers determined to grab the last bargain-priced item before you do.

Two factors are at play here: the rise in e-commerce, which has shifted much of the bargain-hunting from Walmart to Amazon, and extended Black Friday sales that in some cases began right after Halloween. The shift to online shopping really accelerated during the pandemic, and the bulk of the foot traffic has yet to return.

But for home entertainment, Black Friday has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. A steady decline in DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and a dramatic shift in consumer spending toward subscription streaming, has made the days of shoppers scooping up bargain-priced discs seem as antiquated as renting a videocassette at Blockbuster.

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The once-ubiquitous “dump bins” of $5 DVDs at Walmart are gone. Completely. Earlier this year, Media Play News reported that the nation’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer was shaving 20% off its already-small footprint for physical media, but the absence of cheap DVDs still came as something of a shock.

Best Buy, on the other hand, included DVDs and Blu-ray Discs front and center — literally — in its Black Friday blowout deals. At the consumer electronics chain’s store in Oceanside, Calif., there were standalone displays for “Black Friday Deals” and “$7.99 and Up” movies, though by midday Blu-ray Discs priced at the low end were gone and all that remained were mostly 4K Ultra HD editions of films such as Hacksaw Ridge, Total Recall, Dirty Dancing and the first two “John Wick” movies, priced at $17.99.

Best Buy also had a separate standee for Top Gun: Maverick, which was discounted to $24.99 for the Blu-ray Disc and $29.99 for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Target offered a buy-two-get-one-free deal on movies, books and games, as well as a selection of discounted holiday-themed DVDs with new slipcover box art.

Earlier this month, Samba TV released the results of a new survey, taken in late summer, that found 71% of shoppers were planning to take part in Black Friday shopping, up from about 60% last year. For tech-savvy millennials, the percentage, surprisingly, was even higher, at 88%.

Still, the survey found that just 31% of U.S. adults are planning to do most of their holiday shopping in stores this holiday season, which explains the lighter crowds. 

Online, however, is a different story. Adobe, which tracks sales on retailer websites, on Nov. 26 reported total online Black Friday sales of $9.12 billion, 2.3% more than U.S. shoppers spent online on Black Friday last year. 

Cyber Monday (today, Nov. 28) is once again expected to be the biggest day for online shopping, with Adobe projecting total sales of $11.2 billion.

On Thanksgiving Day, U.S. shoppers spent $5.29 billion online, another record. Popular items included Apple watches and AirPod, smart TVs and speakers, and gaming consoles. 

Adobe says sales from smartphones accounted for 55% of online sales on Thanksgiving Day. These sales are expected to account for 53% of total Black Friday sales, the company predicts.

Samba TV: In-Store Shopping to Return Over Winter Holiday Retail Season

Despite economic concerns and inflation, consumers are projected to return to retail stores in greater numbers over the upcoming winter holiday retail season. New data from Samba TV finds around seven in 10 shoppers plan to take part in Black Friday (71%) and Cyber Monday (70%) shopping. This is an increase from last year, when six in 10 participated.

Millennials are even more likely to take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping than the average U.S. adult, with 88% planning to participate in Black Friday this year and 87% planning to participate in Cyber Monday.

The data is based on an Aug. 29-Sept. 1 survey of 2,505 adults conducted by HarrisX.

Overall, 31% of U.S. adults plan to do most of their holiday shopping in-store this holiday season. More than one in four plan to increase in-store shopping this year compared with last year. Of all age groups, Gen Z is most likely to shop in-store on Black Friday, with more than half (56%) planning to do so.

In-store consumers are also set to spend more than online shoppers, with the average person planning to do the majority of their holiday shopping in-store expecting to spend $1,286 this holiday season and the average majority online shopper planning to spend $853.

“With Americans continuing to embrace a ‘return to normalcy,’ retailers will see trends like a return to in-person shopping emerge fueling the holiday season with overall spending behaviors on par with previous years,” Ashwin Navin, CEO of Samba TV, said in a statement.

HBO Max, Discovery+ Offering Black Friday Deals on Ad-Supported Tiers

Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max and Discovery+ are offering Black Friday deals on their ad-supported tiers through Nov. 28.

For new and returning customers in the United States, the ad-supported tier of HBO Max will be offered at $1.99 per month for the first three months — equivalent to 80% off the regular price of the ad-supported tier.

The offer is available via HBOMax.com or through Apple, Amazon, Google Play and Roku. Vizio, PlayStation, LG, and Xbox devices also offer more information. 

Discovery+ will be available for 99 cents a month for the first three months of the ad-supported tier for new customers in the United States and Canada — equivalent to 80% off the current price of the ad-supported tier. 

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The offer is available via discoveryplus.com or through Apple, Amazon, Google Play and Roku. Viewers can also learn more about the offer on LG, Xbox, and Cox Contour devices.

NRF: Record 166.3 Million Shoppers Expected During Thanksgiving Weekend — 33% Eyeing Packaged-Media Gifts

An estimated 166.3 million people are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) through Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) this year, according to the annual survey released Nov. 17 by the National Retail Federation.

The tally is almost 8 million more people than last year and is the highest estimate since NRF began tracking Thanksgiving Day weekend data in 2017.

“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” Matthew Shay, CEO of NRF, said in a statement.

The top five gift categories consumers plan to give are clothing (55%), followed by gift cards at 45%, toys at 37%, packaged media at 33% and food/candy at 31%.

According to the survey of 7,719 adult consumers conducted Nov. 1-8, more than two-thirds (69%) of holiday consumers plan to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend. The top reasons cited include deals too good to pass up (59%), because of tradition (27%) or because it is something to do (22%) over the holiday.

Black Friday (Nov. 25) continues to be the most popular day to shop, with 69% (114.9 million) planning to shop then, followed by 38% (63.9 million) on Cyber Monday. Among the 114.9 million Black Friday shoppers, 67% say they expect to head to stores, up from 64% in 2021.

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Online search (43%) remains the most popular source of gift inspiration, followed by friends and family (35%) and within a retail store (31%).

Similar to 2020 and 2021, this year 60% of holiday shoppers had started browsing and buying for the season as of early November. This consumer trend of earlier shopping was accelerated by the pandemic. In 2019, 56% of holiday shoppers had started their shopping around this time.

NRF forecast earlier this month that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. Last year’s holiday sales grew 13.5% over 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion, shattering previous records. Holiday retail sales have averaged an increase of 4.9% over the past 10 years, with pandemic spending in recent years accounting for considerable gains.

“We are optimistic that retail sales will remain strong in the weeks ahead, and retailers are ready to meet consumers however they want to shop with great products at prices they want to pay,” Shay said in a statement.

Merchandising: Target Breaks Out Black Friday Deals for Movies, Games

Target’s latest round of early Black Friday deals involved a wide selection of movies and video games, among other entertainment items.

In promotions valid Nov. 6-12, Target is offering a buy two, get one free mix and match deal on video games, board games, books, activity kits and puzzles.

In addition, Target is touting DVD and Blu-ray movies for as low as $5 or $10.

The $5 movies include a DVD collections of the “Sing” and “Friday” movies, La La Land and Turning Red on DVD, and Tom & Jerry: The Movie on Blu-ray.

The $10 selection includes Blu-rays for titles such as Aquaman, Where the Crawdads Sing and Lightyear.

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NPD: Mixed Black Friday, Cyber Week CE Sales Results

It was a mixed bag for consumer electronics during last month’s annual post-Thanksgiving Black Friday retail day/week, including Cyber Monday, according to new data from The NPD Group.

The industry saw a 15% year-over-year revenue increase, while Cyber Week saw a 3% increase versus year ago. Much the revenue gains were due to category price hikes Results for these two weeks were up versus 2019, as the strength of online shopping reinvigorated the two core weeks of the holiday selling season.

Meanwhile, while revenue increased, unit sales — which indicate consumer demand — tell a different story. In the first nine weeks of the fourth quarter unit sales are down 4% from 2020, according to NPD.

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The industry-wide average selling price is up, which the Port Washington, N.Y.-based research group contends is due in part to demand for quality and performance, component and shipping costs, lower promotional levels, and industry-wide choices to focus production resources on higher price point goods.

“Consumers are embracing a different kind of value, as they look to invest in higher-end, better-quality products,” Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD, said in a statement.

NPD said that among product categories, the surprise thus far has been virtual reality. During Cyber Week, VR/AR saw revenue growth of 84%, and unit volume more than doubled.

record-high selling prices for TVs resulted in record-breaking revenue during Cyber Week. Headphones continued their strong holiday quarter with a 7% revenue increase.

“Cyber Week 2021 followed a similar pattern to pre-pandemic years, demonstrating that the lack of a post-Black Friday lull in 2020 truly was an aberration,” Cohen said. “High-momentum categories are starting to show some vulnerability, which is understandable given the headwinds at play. However, these categories may still show up with late holiday shoppers looking to take advantage of last-minute deals during the full week of shopping after Super Saturday on this year’s calendar.”