Thanksgiving weekend shopping: Record numbers made purchases at stores, online

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported Tuesday that record number of people – over 200 million – shopped online and in-store over the holiday weekend, underscoring the resilience of consumers in the midst of persisting inflation and high interest rates.  

This year’s figure not only surpassed last year’s record high, which sat at 196.7 million, but it also outpaced the trade group’s earlier projection of 182 million, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout,” NRF CEO Matt Shat said in a statement Tuesday, in regard to the demand for the holiday weekend, which spans from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, also known as Cyber Week. 

CYBER MONDAY SALES DRIVEN BY ‘BUY NOW, PAY LATER’ 

However, over half of this year’s shoppers, about 55%, admitted that their purchases were driven by sales and promotions, up 2% from a year ago, according to the survey results. 

More than a third of shoppers who were hesitant about a purchase were persuaded by the limited-time sales or promotions offered, the data showed. That’s up nearly 30% compared to last year. 

Both online channels and stores were utilized this weekend with 121.4 million shoppers physically going into stores. The number of in-store shoppers was consistent with last year. 

Meanwhile, about 134.2 million shopped online, up from just over 130 million in 2022, according to the data. 

The data also highlighted that the majority of shoppers bought holiday-related items over the weekend, each of them spending an average of $321.41, which was in line with average spending last year. 

Coach shopping bag

However, the shopping season is far from over. Although 85% of consumers had started shopping, they are only halfway done so far, according to the data. 

The entire holiday shopping season spans from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. During this time, the NRF projects that consumers spending will grow between 3% and 4%, totaling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion. 

That growth is slower than the past three years when stimulus checks led to unprecedented rates of retail spending, but it is in line with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6% from 2010 to 2019, according to the NRF. 

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