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Holiday Weekend Shopper Count ‘Shatters’ Expectations

November 30, 2022  |  Leah Meirovich
NRF crowded mall credit Shutterstock

A record 196.7 million consumers shopped during Cyber Week, over 30 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 is also 17 million more than a year ago, according to a survey the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics conducted. The sharp uptick is a result of increased discounts and deals retailers offered, the NRF said Wednesday.

“The Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend is a tradition treasured by many American families,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. “As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible. Retailers have responded accordingly, offering shoppers a season of buying convenience, matching sales and promotions across online and in-store channels.”

More than three-quarters of survey respondents said they shopped over the holiday weekend, up from 70% in 2021 and “shattering” the NRF’s initial expectations, it said. Of those, more than 122.7 million people visited brick-and-mortar stores, a rise of 17% versus the previous year. The number of online shoppers grew 2% year on year to 130.2 million.

Black Friday prevailed as the most popular day for in-store shopping, according to the survey, with 72.9 million buyers, compared with 66.5 million the year before. Some 63.4 million consumers purchased in physical shops the Saturday after Thanksgiving, versus 51 million in 2021, NRF noted.

Overall, consumers spent an average of $325 on holiday-related purchases over the five-day period, up from $301 last year. Of that amount, shoppers shelled out $229 on gifts, the NRF said. Online and department stores were the most common shopping destinations between November 24 and 28, according to respondents. The top gift choice, picked by 50% of those surveyed, was clothing and accessories — which includes jewelry. Some 31% bought toys, while 27% opted for gift cards, and 24% chose books, video games and other media. Both electronics and food and candy were the top priority for 23% of respondents.

The increase in sales and consumer spending over the holiday period is not due solely to inflation, the NRF maintained.

“It is important to note that while some may claim that retail sales gains are the result of higher prices, they must acknowledge the historic growth in consumers who are shopping in-store and online during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend and into Cyber Monday,” Shay said. “It is consumer demand that is driving growth.”

Sales for the full November-to-December holiday period will grow 6% to 8% to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion, the NRF forecast.

Image: A crowded shopping mall. (Shutterstock)


NRF crowded mall credit Shutterstock Holiday Weekend Shopper Count ‘Shatters’ Expectations

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