Consumers poised to smash records over Thanksgiving weekend


WASHINGTON – The number of consumers planning to shop between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday is expected to set a new record.

An estimated 166.3 million people are planning to shop during the traditional holiday shopping kick-off period this year, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This figure is almost 8 million more people than last year and is the highest estimate since NRF began tracking this data in 2017.

“While consumers continue to save the bulk of their holiday shopping for later in November and December, some of that spending has shifted into October,” said Phil Rist, Prosper Insights’ executive vice president of strategy. “This year, 18% of holiday shoppers have completed at least half of their holiday shopping. While this is on par with last year, it is up from only 11% a decade ago.”

3 key takeaways from the survey:

  • Hot deals. More than two-thirds (69%) of holiday shoppers plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend this year. The top reasons consumers plan to shop are because the deals are too good to pass up (59%), because of tradition (27%) or because it is something to do (22%) over the holiday.
  • Stores will be crowded. Black Friday remains 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.
  • Making a list. Online search (43%) remains the most popular source of gift inspiration, followed by friends and family (35%) and within a retail store (31%). The top five gift categories consumers plan to give are clothing (55%), followed by gift cards at 45%, toys at 37%, books/music/movies/video games at 33% and food/candy at 31%.
matthew shay - cropped
Matthew Shay

“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,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Earlier this month, NRF projected 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, a record high. Holiday retail sales have averaged an increase of 4.9% over the past 10 years, with pandemic spending in recent years accounting for significant gains.

The survey of 7,719 adult consumers was conducted November 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

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