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Holiday weekend shoppers down from last year

Multichannel shopping rules.

More consumers shopped over the holiday weekend than expected, with increasing numbers buying both online and in stores. However, the number was down from last year.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 165 million Americans shopped either in stores or online over the holiday period this year. The number topped the 164 million who had said they planned to shop in a survey conducted by NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics ahead of the holiday, but it was down from the 174 million who shopped in 2017. On a call with media, the NRF noted that early discounts which started before Thanksgiving and the fact that there are more days to shop between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year than last may have led to the lower number of shoppers.

The survey found more than 89 million people shopped both online and in stores, up nearly 40% from last year. The multichannel shopper outspent the single-channel shopper by up to $93 on average.

“This year’s research clearly shows that the investments made by retailers are paying off in a big way,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Over the last couple of days, what I heard in discussions with retail CEOs across all categories and segments was very positive, driven by macro conditions of low unemployment and rising wages combined with the right mix of merchandise at great prices. This is a very strong emotional start to the holiday season and a positive indicator of where we are headed over the next month.”

The average shopper spent $313.29 on gifts and other holiday items over the five-day period. Of that, $217.37, or 69%, was specifically spent on gifts. The biggest spenders were older Millennials and Gen Xers (35-44 years old) at $413.05.

Spending estimates from various groups have indicated that Thanksgiving weekend was record-breaking for the retail industry, consistent with NRF’s holiday forecast of up to a 4.8% increase in holiday spending over the months of November and December.

In other survey highlights:

• Top purchases over the weekend included apparel (bought by 57% of those surveyed), toys (34%), books and video games (29%), electronics (26%) and gift cards (20%).

• Top shopping destinations during the weekend included department stores (42%), online retailers (38%), apparel stores (30%), grocery stores (30%) discount stores (29%) and electronics stores (27%).

• The most popular day to shop online was Cyber Monday, cited by 67.4 million shoppers, followed by Black Friday with 65.2 million shoppers.

• The most popular day for in-store shopping was Black Friday with more than 67 million shoppers, followed by Small Business Saturday with 47.4 million shoppers.

• Sixty-six percent of smartphone owners used their mobile devices to make holiday decisions, up from 63% last year.

• On average, consumers have more than half (56%) of their holiday shopping left to do. Many consumers (92%) believe that the strong deals seen over Thanksgiving weekend will continue or improve throughout the rest of the season.
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