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NRF: Thanksgiving holiday weekend shoppers to set new record

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Black Friday
An estimated 130.7 million Americans are planning to shop on Black Friday this year.

The search for deals is expected to drive a record number of consumers to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

An estimated 182 million people are expected to shop during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of nearly 16 million compared to last year, according to the National Retail Federation. It's the highest estimate since 2017, when the group started tracking Thanksgiving holiday weekend data. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans plan to shop during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year, up 69% from pre-pandemic 2019. 

The top reasons consumers plan to shop during this period are because the deals are too good to pass up (61%), followed by tradition (28%). Unsurprisingly, Black Friday was reported by consumers as the most popular day to shop, with 72% (130.7 million) planning to shop, up from 69% in 2022. Cyber Monday is the second most popular day, attracting 39% (71.1 million) of those planning to shop over the weekend, up slightly from 38% last year.

“The Thanksgiving holiday weekend marks some of the busiest shopping days of the year, as consumers enjoy the tradition of shopping for the perfect gifts for friends and loved ones,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers have been preparing for months for this occasion. They are stocked and ready to help customers find the gifts and other items they want at great prices during the entire holiday season.”

As of early November, roughly six-in-10 (59%) holiday shoppers have started browsing and buying for the holiday season as they work to get a head start on their shopping. On average, holiday shoppers have completed one-quarter (25%) of their planned purchases.

Nearly half (48%) of holiday shoppers surveyed have purchased gifts so far this holiday season. Another 18% say they’ve purchased decorations and 17% say they’ve purchased gifts for themselves. 

ICSC’s recent 2023 Thanksgiving Weekend Intentions survey found that consumers are expected to spend a total of $130 billion over the holiday weekend, an increase of 4% from last year’s spending estimates. 

“Early shopping is a trend we have been tracking for several years, and this year, there is evidence the deals and promotions from October resonated with consumers,” Prosper Insights & Analytics executive vice president of strategy Phil Rist said. “More than 40% of shoppers say they took advantage of retailers’ October sales to shop specifically for holiday gifts, décor and other seasonal items.”

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