NRF: Movie DVDs Among Top-Selling Thanksgiving Weekend Sales Items; Shopping Traffic Down Slightly

An estimated 186.4 million consumers took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend price discounts and shopped in-store and online this year, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

After toys, books, music, movie DVDs, video games (29%), gift cards/certificates (29%) and electronics (27%) ranked among top-selling items, according to a survey of 6,615 adult consumers conducted Nov. 25-30 .

While the overall number of shoppers from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday dropped slightly from 189.6 million in an unusually robust 2019, this figure is still significantly higher than the 165.8 million shoppers in 2018.

“As expected, consumers have embraced an earlier start to the holiday shopping season, but many were also prepared to embrace a long-standing tradition of turning out online and in stores over Thanksgiving weekend to make gift purchases for family and friends,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

Black Friday and Saturday saw strong growth in online activity. For the first time, the number of online Black Friday shoppers passed the 100 million mark, up 8% over last year. The number of online Saturday shoppers grew even more, up 17% compared with last year. Online-only shoppers increased by 44% for the entire weekend, for a total of 95.7 million.

With retailers enticing consumers with generous deals as early as October, more than half (52%) of holiday shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales and promotions this year. Of those, 38 percent said they checked off holiday purchases in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. More than half (53%) felt the promotions over the weekend were the same as they had been earlier in the season.

As expected, in-store shopping was down given both the state of the pandemic as well as the number of retailers who opted to close on Thanksgiving Day. With consumer traffic moving to online channels, the number of in-store shoppers on Thanksgiving Day dropped by 55% from last year and those on Black Friday dropped by 37%. An earlier NRF survey found that a large majority (70%) of holiday shoppers say they feel safe shopping in stores this holiday season given the precautions retailers have taken for COVID-19.

Over the five-day period, shoppers spent an average of $311.75 on holiday-related purchases such as gifts or decorations, down from last year’s total of $361.90 but comparable to 2018’s $313.29. Of that amount, nearly three-quarters ($224.48) was spent directly on gifts.

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Consumers have continued to stress the importance of holidays throughout this year. In fact, the majority of holiday shoppers (55%) said recent developments around COVID-19 cases had no impact on their holiday spending plans this year. Most (51%) also feel that given the pandemic, they are more interested in holiday decorations and seasonal items. They were also eager to support small businesses, as 77% indicated they were more interested in doing so this year.

“The growth in online activity this year was significant, particularly for Black Friday and Saturday shoppers,” said Phil Rist, EVP of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics. “With the start to the holiday shopping season continuing to move up even earlier, consumers will further utilize these channels.”

Shopping destinations included department stores (visited by 40% of those surveyed), grocery stores (39%), clothing stores (33%) and electronics stores (31%).

Although consumers have embraced the earlier start to the holiday shopping season, their lists are not quite complete. Holiday shoppers have about half of their shopping left to do and 91% expect they will continue to see great deals throughout the rest of the season.

NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast that sales will increase between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019 to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. Over the 2020 holiday season, NRF expects that online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, will increase between 20% and 30%. In total consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families this year, according to NRF’s annual survey released in October.

Hulu Bowing $1.99 Monthly Promo at Midnight on Thanksgiving Through Cyber Monday

Hulu is set to launch a discounted $1.99 monthly promotion at midnight on Thanksgiving. The campaign pledges to give new and returning subscribers 12-month access to the ad-supported Hulu option, which amounts to a $48 savings over the recently reduced $5.99 monthly fee (from $7.99). The ad-free subscription plan remains priced at $11.99 monthly.

Hulu added 6.9 million subs to reach 32.5 million subs through Sept. 30 — up 27% from the previous-year period.

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Hulu’s ad-supported plan gives subscribers access to Hulu’s streaming TV library of shows such as “Family Guy,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Golden Girls,” films like Trolls World Tour and Hulu Originals, including “Pen15,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Ramy,” “Animaniacs” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” for a more than 66% savings compared the cost of a regular subscription.

New or returning subs can sign up for the limited time offer through 11:59 p.m. PT on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30) at Hulu.com. Disney, which owns Hulu, is also marketing the ad-supported option with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $12.99 monthly.

 

Report: ‘Friends’ Most-Watched TV Show Over Thanksgiving Weekend

In addition to football, TV show re-runs dominate viewer interest around the Thanksgiving holiday, according to new data from USDish, a reseller of Dish Network. While movies dominate around Christmas, TV show episodes rank high among viewers over Thanksgiving, with “Friends” the most popular TV show. Of the 15 TV show episodes that ranked most-popular, 10 were “Friends” episodes.

In compiling its data, USDish analyzed the top 15 holiday episodes for each holiday using IMDb data. To qualify, each episode had to meet the following criteria: Contain the keywords “Thanksgiving,” “Christmas,” or “New Year’s Eve,” respectively; be produced between 1990 and 2020; have more than 1,500 IMDb votes; and achieve a rating of 7.5 and above.

“Once we narrowed down our search, we found each episode’s viewership count using the viewership archive on TV Listings,” wrote Travis Peterson, author of the study. “Then we ranked each episode from most popular to least-popular based on viewership.”

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To find the most-searched TV show in each state for November, December and January, respectively, USDish analyzed Google Trends data.

The study found that comedy and romance are hits around Thanksgiving, with more than 93% of the top episodes categorized as comedy. Thirteen out of the 15 TV episodes (87%) are also categorized as romance.

Apparently Thanksgiving is a perfect time for a little throwback TV. Seven out of the top 15 episodes aired in the ’90s, while six aired in the 2000s. The average running time of all episodes on the list is 24 minutes.

 

‘Knives Out,’ ‘Home Alone,’ ‘Die Hard’ Top Fandango Holiday Film Survey

Knives Out was voted the top movie to watch for Thanksgiving, Home Alone was voted the favorite family-friendly holiday film, and Die Hard was named the top unconventional holiday film by fans on Fandango’s transactional video on-demand services, Vudu and FandangoNow.

Fandango surveyed more than 1,000 film fans in the first weeks of November.

As might be expected, 92% of those surveyed expect to watch more movies at home during the holiday season than in previous years. Also, 71% said they are planning to binge watch during the holiday season, and 62% said they plan to watch their favorite holiday classics more than once.

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“Watching a favorite classic movie is part of a beloved holiday tradition for many families,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said in a statement. “This year there’s an extra nostalgia factor because many of us cannot gather together in front of the same screen. The top picks center on the power of families, warts and all, and serve as the kind of cinematic comfort food we look forward to enjoying during the holiday season.”

Top Movies to Watch for Thanksgiving:

  1. Knives Out
  2. Addams Family Values
  3. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  4. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  5. Home for the Holidays
  6. Grumpy Old Men
  7. Free Birds
  8. Scent of a Woman
  9. Pieces of April
  10. The Oath

 

Favorite Family-Friendly Holiday Movies

  1. Home Alone
  2. Elf
  3. The Santa Clause
  4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  5. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  7. The Polar Express
  8. A Christmas Story
  9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  10. It’s a Wonderful Life

 

Favorite Unconventional Holiday Movies:

  1. Die Hard
  2. Edward Scissorhands
  3. Gremlins
  4. Bad Moms Christmas
  5. Bad Santa
  6. Krampus
  7. Office Christmas Party
  8. The Night Before
  9. Trading Places
  10. Anna and the Apocalypse

 

Favorite Performances as Santa Claus:

  1. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause
  2. Edward Asner, Elf
  3. Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa
  4. Tom Hanks, The Polar Express
  5. James Cosmo, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
  6. Richard Attenborough, Miracle on 34thStreet (1994)
  7. Paul Giamatti, Fred Claus
  8. Edmund Gwenn, Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  9. Rickey Smiley, The Friday After Next
  10. Alec Baldwin, Rise of the Guardians

 

Favorite Holiday Movie Villains:

  1. Harry & Marv (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern), Home Alone
  2. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), Die Hard
  3. Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), It’s a Wonderful Life
  4. The Grinch (Jim Carrey), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  5. Oogie Boogie (Ken Ross), The Nightmare Before Christmas
  6. Frank Cross (Bill Murray), Scrooged
  7. Scrooge (Jim Carey), Disney’s A Christmas Carol
  8. Fulton Greenway (Michael Lerner), Elf
  9. Ted Maltin (Phil Hartman), Jingle All the Way
  10. Scut Farkas (Zack Ward), A Christmas Story

 

The winners can also be found in the holiday sections on Vudu and FandangoNow.

Apple TV+ to Be Home for ‘Peanuts’

Apple TV+ will stream “Peanuts” original series and specials, along with the classic specials.

New animated “Peanuts” originals coming to Apple TV+ include a second season of the Daytime Emmy-nominated “Snoopy in Space,” and new specials that will find the “Peanuts” gang marking Mother’s Day, Earth Day, New Year’s Eve and going back to school — all to be produced by WildBrain’s animation studio. The new series and specials join the previously announced The Snoopy Show, a new “Peanuts” 70th anniversary documentary film from Imagine Documentaries and WildBrain, and Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10.

The original programs and new specials will also soon stream globally alongside iconic “Peanuts” specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The Halloween special will begin streaming globally on Apple TV+ Oct. 19, and will be available for free from Oct. 30 until Nov. 1 on Apple TV+. Apple TV+ will launch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Nov. 18, and the special will be available for free from Nov. 25 until Nov. 27. A Charlie Brown Christmas will stream exclusively on Apple TV+ on Dec. 4.

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Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at tv.apple.com, at $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. The Apple TV app will be available on Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this year. For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device. For more information, please visit apple.com/tvpr.

Best Buy, Target Join Walmart Closing on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is slowly returning to a national holiday from the retail ecosystem. Big box stores Best Buy and Target are joining Walmart in not being open on Nov. 26.

“We can all agree that, so far, 2020 has turned out differently than what we might have expected,” Best Buy said in a statement. “And now, the holiday season at Best Buy, including Thanksgiving Day, is going to look different, too.”

Indeed, consumers looking for door specials on big screen televisions, computers, soundbars and DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies will have to wait 24 hours for Black Friday deals. Best Buy, which has been open on Thanksgiving since 2013, reiterated that consumers can still shop on BestBuy.com and via the Best Buy app on Turkey Day.

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The announcement follows last week’s disclosure that retail sales are up 255% in the current quarter compared with a year ago — driven by purchases of computers, appliances and tablets.

“Although this holiday season may certainly look different, we’re ready to once again be there for our customers how, when and where they need us, during the most exciting time of the year,” the retailer said.

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Target, like other chains, is accommodating  the Thanksgiving Day closure by offering special deals before and after Nov. 26.

“This year more than ever, a joyful holiday will be inseparable from a safe one, and we’re continuing to adjust our plans to deliver ease, value and the joy of the season,” said CEO Brian Cornell.

Walmart, which was the first major retailer to change it Thanksgiving Day operations, has been a perennial home entertainment retail leader over the Black Friday holiday weekend, which typically began with special deals on Thanksgiving.

That decision was in tandem with corporate announcing plans to spend $428 million on special cash bonuses to store, club, distribution center and fulfillment center associates for their ongoing contributions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up,” said John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S. “We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones.”

Regardless, brick-and-mortar sales on Thanksgiving Day have been waning, up just 2.3% in 2018, according to First Data, with an average ticket amount of $60, a $1 increase over 2017.

Adobe Analytics contends retail trends continue push e-commerce. A record $9.4 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) in 2019, up 19.7% from 2018. It was the largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S., topping $7.9 billion spent in 2018.

Walmart to Close on Thanksgiving, Ending Longtime Black Friday Tradition

Walmart July 21 announced it would not be open on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26 — typically the beginning of the retail behemoth’s annual Black Friday retail holiday. The decision also affects Sam’s Club locations.

Walmart has been a perennial home entertainment retail leader over the Black Friday holiday, which typically began with special deals on Thanksgiving.

The decision was in tandem with corporate announcing plans to spend $428 million on special cash bonuses to store, club, distribution center and fulfillment center associates for their ongoing contributions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly and temporary associates. Drivers, managers and assistant managers in stores, clubs, DCs, FCs, and health and wellness will also receive a bonus.

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“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”

Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations will operate normal hours on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Information for store and club hours on Friday, Nov. 27 (a.k.a. Black Friday) will be shared at a later date.

Lionsgate to Bow ‘The Turkey Bowl’ on DVD Jan. 14

The comedy The Turkey Bowl arrives on DVD Jan. 14 from Lionsgate.

The film is now available on digital and on demand.

Co-written and directed by Greg Coolidge, creator of the “Ride Along” franchise, and co-writer/director of Employee of the MonthThe Turkey Bowl stars Ryan Hansen, Matt Jones, Kristen Hager, Brett Cullen, Barry Switzer and Alan Ritchson.

The story follows Patrick Hodges, a former small-town high school quarterback — now a high-powered Chicago businessman engaged to a politician’s daughter — who hasn’t returned to his tiny Midwestern town in years. But his old friends have lured him back for Thanksgiving to force him to finish the legendary Turkey Bowl — a football game that was snowed out 15 years ago. Patrick must risk his future to lead his ragtag team against their bitter crosstown rivals, ultimately realizing how much he misses the simpler life and the girl that got away.

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Special features include an audio commentary with director Coolidge and co-writer Kirk Ward and deleted scenes with commentary.

Amazon: Cyber Monday Biggest Shopping Day in Company History

As expected, Amazon Nov. 27 said Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day in the company’s history with more products ordered worldwide than any other day – including the ecommerce behemoth’s annual Prime Day.

Amazon said consumers worldwide ordered more than 18 million toys and more than 13 million fashion items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, combined.

Adobe Analytics estimated consumers spent more than $7.8 billion shopping on Cyber Monday.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to break records on Amazon year over year,” Jeff Wilke, CEO, worldwide consumer, said in a statement. “With curated gift guides, convenient shopping experiences, product selection, and free shipping, Amazon offers customers tremendous value.”

Weekend highlights included:

  • Sales by small and medium-sized businesses worldwide grew more than 20% on Black Friday year-over-year.
  • Throughout the five-day Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday period, Amazon customers ordered more than 180 million items.
  • Christmas lights were a bestseller on Prime Now.
  • The best-selling products at Amazon 4-star and Amazon Books over the weekend included the Echo Dot, Becoming by Michelle Obama, the Amazon Smart Plug, and the L.O.L. Surprise Series toys.
  • Customers ordered more than four million toys and electronics on the mobile app on Black Friday.
  • The best-selling products on Cyber Monday included the Echo Dot, AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing Ethnicity, Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Jenga, and Instant Pot DUO60 – 6 Quart.
  • The all-new Echo Dot was the #1 selling product on Amazon globally, from any manufacturer, in any category.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday Retail Traffic Rivals 2017 as E-Commerce Soars

Consumer foot traffic to brick-and-mortar retail stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday resulted in a combined 1% decline for the two-day period compared to last year, with a 1.7% decline in traffic on Black Friday versus 2017, according to new data from ShopperTrak.

“The fact that the combined shopper visits remained almost the same this year compared to the last three years proves that the notion of Black Friday not being popular anymore is a myth,” Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting for ShopperTrak, said in a statement.

The National Retail Federation predicted that about 164 million people would shop over the five days through Cyber Monday – which equals last year’s tally.

Meanwhile, online shopping over the holidays — much like e-commerce during the year — continues to grow exponentially.

Adobe reportedly expects online holiday shopping in November and December to increase nearly 15% from 2017. The tech company said Black Friday shopping on the Internet increased nearly 28% to $6.4 billion. Online shopping on Thanksgiving increased 28% to $3.7 billion.

Regardless, ShopperTrak estimates 80% of the holiday’s busiest shopping days are still ahead. The days include Super Saturday, which falls on Dec. 22, and the Sunday before Christmas, Dec. 23.

Notably, for the third year in a row, there are four Saturdays in December prior to Christmas Day, which will enhance the importance of both Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. In addition, similar to last year, the Saturday after Christmas, Dec. 29, is expected to be one of the busiest shopping days taking the last spot on the top 10 busiest day’s list.

“Shopping in physical stores during the holidays continues to be an exciting annual event for consumers and based on the Black Friday traffic data, retailers are in for a successful holiday season,” said Field.