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Thanksgiving Weekend to Draw 165M Shoppers With Deals ‘Too Good to Pass Up’

Holiday retail sales are expected to grow 4%.

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(Press Release) WASHINGTON – Retailers are preparing for one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year with an estimated 165.3 million people likely to shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“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,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “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.”

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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.

Shay said younger consumers are significantly more likely to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend. Among those ages 18-24, 88 percent say they are likely to shop and particularly enjoy the social aspect. Similarly, 84 percent of those ages 25-34 plan to shop. That compares with 69 percent of holiday shoppers overall.

Of those planning to shop, there is an almost even split of people who plan to start their shopping in-store (47 percent) compared with those who plan to start online (41 percent). Those under 25 are even more likely to say they expect to start shopping in-store (52 percent).

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“We expect the biggest increase in potential shoppers for Thanksgiving Day this year,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “We anticipate that people may head to stores if they are open or shop from their phones while watching football.”

The top reasons consumers are planning to shop include:

  • The deals are too good to pass up (65 percent)
  • Tradition (28 percent)
  • It’s when they like to start their holiday shopping (22 percent)
  • It’s something to do over the holiday (21 percent)
  • It’s a group activity with friends/family (17 percent)

For consumers who do not plan to shop, more than half (53 percent) 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 percent), if a family member or friend invites them to shop (12 percent), if they could be sure the items they want are available (11 percent) or a free shipping offer (11 percent).

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

The survey of 7,917 adult consumers’ Thanksgiving weekend plans was conducted Oct. 31 through Nov. 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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