And They’re Off: Consumers Rush Into Holiday Shopping

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holiday shopping

A record number of consumers shopped in-store and online over long Thanksgiving weekend

This year’s holiday shopping season got off to a strong start with a record 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopping from Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday through Cyber Monday, according to a Dec. 3 news release from the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics in Worthington, Ohio. That’s a 14% increase over 165.8 million consumers shopping during the five-day period in 2018.

“Americans continue to start their holiday shopping earlier in the year, and Thanksgiving is still a critical weekend for millions,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive officer. “Whether they’re looking for something unique on Main Street, making a trip to the store or searching for the best deals from their mobile device, this is when shoppers shift into high gear. With the condensed holiday season, consumers are feeling the pressure to get their shopping done in time. Even those who typically wait until the last minute to purchase gifts turned out in record numbers all weekend long.”

On average, shoppers spent $361.90, up 16% from the $313.29 they spent during the same period last year, according to the release.

Not surprisingly, Black Friday was the busiest day for in-store activity, with 84.2 million shoppers, but Black Friday also significantly topped Cyber Monday as the busiest day for online shopping (93.2 million shoppers vs. 83.3 million shoppers). That’s a first.

When looking for deals, 39% of consumers relied on emails from retailers, followed by advertising circulars (38%) and online search (38%). About three-quarters of shoppers used their mobile devises to research products, compare prices or make purchases, up significantly from 66% last year, the news release said.

The NRF expects holiday sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 to total between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion, with consumers expected to spend an average of $1,047.83.

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