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Millions Set to Shop In-Store and Online This Thanksgiving-Cyber Monday Weekend


An estimated 182 million people are planning to shop in-store and online from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This figure is 15.7 million more people than last year and 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,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “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.”

Online shopping has been one of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic. Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, are expected to increase between 7% and 9% to a total of between $273.7 billion and $278.8 billion. That figure is up from $255.8 billion last year.

According to the survey, three-quarters (74%) of holiday shoppers plan to shop during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year. This is up from 69% pre-pandemic, in 2019. The top reasons consumers plan to shop during this period are because the deals are too good to pass up (61%) and because of tradition (28%).

To meet the demand of the holiday season, NRF expects retailers will hire between 345,000 and 450,000 seasonal workers, in line with 391,000 seasonal hires in 2022. Some of this hiring may have been pulled into October to support retailers’ holiday-buying events in October.

Online spending on Black Friday hit an all-time high of $9.8 billion, up 7.5% compared to last year as retailers ramped up promotions to appeal to inflation-weary consumers.

At $5.3 billion, over half of the Black Friday revenue from online sales was through mobile shopping. Buy Now, Pay Later also saw a 47% increase in usage on Black Friday this year, with consumers using BNPL to make $79 million in purchases, according to Adobe.

Mastercard reported a 2.5% year-over-year increase in U.S. retail sales on Black Friday, excluding automotive sales and based on activity in the Mastercard payments network and survey-based estimates for other payment forms. The company found that e-commerce sales rose by 8.5% year-over-year, while in-store sales increased by 1.1%.

The top five gift categories consumers plan to give are clothing (56%), followed by gift cards at 44%, toys at 37%, books, video games, and other media at 31%, and food/candy at 29%. A record 28% of consumers intend to buy personal care and beauty items as gifts this holiday season, up from about one-quarter in recent years.

The most popular source for gift inspiration remains online search (44%), followed by friends and family (35%), in-store (32%) and wish lists (26%).

U.S. employers have been cracking down on employees using company equipment and company time for non-work-related purposes, including Cyber Monday. As of November 2011, 22% of employers had fired an employee for using the Internet for non-work related activity; 7% of human resource managers surveyed had fired an employee for holiday shopping; and 54% of employers were blocking employees from accessing certain websites. According to CareerBuilder’s annual Cyber Monday survey, more than half of workers (53%) say they spend at least some work time holiday shopping on the Internet, up 3% from 2015. Of this group, 43% spend an hour or more doing so, compared to 42% from 2015.

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