NRF Predicts Record-High Shopping Turnout During Thanksgiving Weekend

The following article is based on a press release issued by the National Retail Federation on November 16, 2023.

shopping-bagsNovember 16, 2023 | An estimated 182 million consumers are planning to shop in-store and online between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday this year, an increase of 15.7 million people compared to 2022, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This figure is the highest estimate since NRF began tracking this data in 2017.

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

According to the survey, three-quarters (74 percent) of holiday shoppers plan to shop during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year, an increase of 5 percent when compared to pre-pandemic shopping levels in 2019. The top reasons consumers plan to shop during this period are because the deals are too good to pass up (61 percent) and because of tradition (28 percent).

Similar to the past few years, as of early November, 59 percent of 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 percent) of their planned purchases.

“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 percent of shoppers say they took advantage of retailers’ October sales to shop specifically for holiday gifts, décor, and other seasonal items.”

Even with early shopping, the five-day shopping event that begins on Thanksgiving Day and continues through the following Monday will represent some of the busiest shopping days of the year. Black Friday continues to be the most popular day to shop, with 72 percent (130.7 million) planning to shop, up from 69 percent in 2022. Cyber Monday is the second most popular day, attracting 39 percent (71.1 million) of those planning to shop over the weekend, on par with 38 percent last year.

NRF forecast earlier this month that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November and December and will grow between 3 percent and 4 percent, totaling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion. By comparison, last year holiday sales totaled $929.5 billion. This year’s holiday spending is consistent with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6 percent from 2010 to 2019.