NRF Predicts Equal Amount of Online, In-Store Shoppers Thanksgiving Weekend

The following article is based on a press release issued by The National Retail Federation on November 15, 2019.

holiday-shopping-2019-predictionsNovember 18, 2019 – More than 165 million people are expected to shop Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, with 15 percent more shoppers (39.6 million) planning to take advantage of Thanksgiving Day deals over 2018 (35 million), according to the latest annual survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

According to the survey results, younger consumers are predicted to be the biggest shoppers over the holiday weekend with 88 percent of consumers ages 18-24 and 84 percent of consumers ages 25-34 planning to shop. This compares to the 69 percent of overall holiday shoppers. Those young shoppers also noted that the social aspect contributed to their desire to shop.

"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."

Over the holiday weekend, 39.6 million consumers plan to shop 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 close on Cyber Monday, when 68.7 million shoppers are projected to take advantage of online discounts.

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 intend to start shopping in-store (52 percent). Even those reporting not to shop, more than half (53 percent) say they could be swayed by 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 if they get a free shipping offer (11 percent).

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)

NRF’s annual forecast estimates 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 October 31 through November 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.