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NRF: Younger consumers show surprising holiday retail trend

young girls christmas shopping

Consumers under 25 are more likely to engage in a “traditional” shopping activity over Thanksgiving weekend.

According to a new survey of about 8,000 consumers from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights, an estimated 165.3 million people are likely to shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Of those planning to shop, 47% plan to start in-store and 41% plan to start online. Interestingly, “digital natives” under 25 are more likely to say they expect to start shopping in-store (52%).

Younger consumers are significantly more likely to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday, Nov. 28 – Monday, Dec. 2). Among those ages 18-24, 88% say they are likely to shop and particularly enjoy the social aspect. Similarly, 84% of those ages 25-34 plan to shop. That compares with 69% of holiday shoppers overall.

Throughout the course of the holiday weekend, 39.6 million consumers are considering shopping on Thanksgiving Day, 114.6 million on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday and 33.3 million on Sunday. The shopping weekend will wrap up on Cyber Monday, when 68.7 million are expected to take advantage of online bargains.

The top reasons consumers are planning to shop include:
•    The deals are too good to pass up (65%);
•    Tradition (28%);
•    It's when they like to start their holiday shopping (22%);
•    It's something to do over the holiday (21%);
•    It's a group activity with friends/family (17%).

For consumers who do not plan to shop, more than half (53%) say something could convince them. The top reasons given that would change their minds are a sale or discount on an item they want (26%), if a family member or friend invites them to shop (12%), if they could be sure the items they want are available (11%) or a free shipping offer (11%).

“The tradition of Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping has become a five-day event with consumers spending money in stores, supporting local small businesses, and online with their mobile devices and computers,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend.”

NRF’s previously released annual holiday forecast estimates that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018 for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.

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