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Holiday weekend kick-off: Traffic up, spending down

Washington D.C. - Shoppers turned out in greater numbers this Thanksgiving weekend, but a combination of deep discounts and budget-mindedness resulted in lower overall sales for the period, according to the National Retail Federation.
Prosper Insights & Analytics polled consumers over the weekend for NRF and found traffic on Thanksgiving Day itself grew 27% over last year as nearly 45 million shoppers, or 31.8% of holiday shoppers, chased after deals. By the end of the weekend, more than 141 million shoppers had shopped, up 1.6% compared to last year.

On average, shoppers spent $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday, down 3.9% from last year. Total spending is estimated to reach $57.4 billion, lagging last year's figure by 2.7%.

Even with several major retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day itself, Black Friday was the biggest shopping down of the weekend, with more than 92 million people shopping compared to nearly 89 million last year.

"With only a few weeks until the big day, retailers will continue to aggressively promote their in-store and online offerings, looking to entice today's very budget-conscious and value-focused shopper," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo.

Other data points from the survey:

  • More than three-quarters (76.2%) of 18-34 year olds shopped or planned to shop over the holiday weekend - higher than any other age group - with Black Friday being the most popular day (70.9%).
  • One-quarter (25.4%) of shoppers said they were at stores by 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
    Nearly four in 10 (37.3%) were at stores by midnight on Thanksgiving, up from 28.0% last year.
    More than one-third (35.8%) didn't arrive at stores on Black Friday until 10 a.m. or later.
  • Four in 10 (42.1%) shopped online over the weekend, with an average online spend of $177.67, or approximately 43.7% of their total weekend spending. That was up from 40.7% last year.

NRF is still standing by its project that sales for the overall holiday season will rise 3.9%.

 

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