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Holiday Weekend Shopper Count Exceeds Expectations

November 29, 2023  |  Leah Meirovich
crowded shopping mall Herald Square NY NRF credit Shutterstock 1280 USED 291123 US retail

A record 200.4 million consumers shopped during Cyber Week, over 18 million more than the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted.

The number of consumers who purchased both in stores and online between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday was 2% more than a year ago, according to a survey the NRF conducted together with Prosper Insights & Analytics. Some 134.2 million shopped solely online, a 3.1% rise over 2022, the NRF said Tuesday.

“The five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday represents some of the busiest shopping days of the year and reflects the continued resilience of consumers and strength of the economy,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. “Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout. Retailers large and small were prepared to deliver safe, convenient and affordable shopping experiences with the products and services consumers needed, and at great prices.”

Black Friday prevailed as the most popular day for in-store shopping, according to the survey, with 76.2 million buyers, compared with 72.9 million the year before. Some 59 million consumers purchased in physical shops the Saturday after Thanksgiving, down from 63.4 million in 2022, NRF noted.

Overall, consumers spent an average of $321 on holiday-related purchases over the five-day period, down 1% from $325 last year. Of that amount, shoppers shelled out $227 on gifts, the NRF said. Online and department stores were the most common shopping destinations, according to respondents. The top gift choice, picked by nearly half of those surveyed, was clothing and accessories — which includes jewelry. Some 31% bought toys, while 25% opted for gift cards, and 23% chose books, video games and other media. Personal care or beauty items were the top priority for 23% of respondents. Over half of those surveyed said they took advantage of early holiday sales and promotions.

“Over the course of the weekend, consumers were able to find great deals on holiday gifts and other items they wanted,” said Prosper executive vice president of strategy Phil Rist. “This year is the first time personal care and beauty items were among the top five most popular gifts purchased over Thanksgiving weekend, with nearly one-quarter of shoppers purchasing these items.”

Sales for the full November-to-December holiday period will grow 3% to 4% to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion, the NRF forecast.

Main image: A crowded mall in Herald Square, New York, in November 2015. (Shutterstock)

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crowded shopping mall Herald Square NY NRF credit Shutterstock 1280 USED 291123 US retail Holiday Weekend Shopper Count Exceeds Expectations

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