Thanksgiving Weekend Draws Record Number of Shoppers, With 124M People Hitting Stores
A record 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, an increase of 14 percent over last year’s 165.8 million, reports the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The survey found that 124 million people shopped in stores while 142.2 million shopped on retailers’ websites; 75.7 million did both. Black Friday was the busiest day for in-store activity, with 84.2 million shoppers, followed by Small Business Saturday (59.9 million), Thanksgiving Day (37.8 million), Sunday (29.2 million) and Cyber Monday (21.8 million).
Total Retail's Take: Retailers nervous about the shortened holiday season should rest easier. The record-breaking turnout over Thanksgiving weekend is a strong start to the holiday shopping season, which is predicted to see sales rise between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay quipped that consumers may actually be prompted to purchase more because "with the condensed holiday season, consumers are feeling the pressure to get their shopping done in time. Even those who typically wait until the last minute to purchase gifts turned out in record numbers all weekend long."
Though more shopping was conducted online than in stores — with 142.2 million people making e-commerce purchases and a record $9.4 billion spent online on Cyber Monday — the increasingly omnichannel nature of modern retail has blurred the lines between online and in-store purchases. With the rise of services such as BOPIS and BORIS, and the use of mobile devices to research and comparison shop while in-store, "it's more and more difficult to distinguish between the sales retailers make in their stores and the ones they make on their websites,” said Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist. The good news, Rist says, is that the "growth in online retail sales is a tide that lifts everybody." Retailers offering seamless cross-channel experiences, personalized offers, flexible payment options, and delivery incentives like free shipping or BOPIS are set to win this holiday season.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content manager at Total Retail and sister brand Women in Retail Leadership Circle. She is passionate about digital media and handles social media, video, and podcast production for both brands, as well as contributing articles and attending events. Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia.