- Marking a record high since the trade group began tracking in 2017, the National Retail Federation announced on Tuesday that 196.7 million people shopped online and in stores during the holidays between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. This is an increase of 17 million people compared to 2021, per the NRF.
- Black Friday specifically saw about 72.9 million shoppers in stores, an increase from 66.5 million in 2021. Seventy-seven percent of shoppers on Saturday told the NRF they were supporting Small Business Saturday, according to its survey of 3,326 adult consumers.
- However, data from foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai found that in-store visits on Black Friday were down year over year for most categories and retailers. Visits to indoor malls fell 2.3%, and big box retailers like Walmart, Costco and Target also saw multi-percentage-point declines compared to 2021. Meanwhile, discount and dollar stores saw a 1.1% increase, and the beauty and spa industry saw a 14.6% jump year over year, per Placer.ai.
The NRF said that the recent holiday shopping period shows the average consumer is still spending despite macroeconomic concerns.
“The Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend is a tradition treasured by many American families,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “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 to accommodate their customers at each interaction.”
Shoppers spent an average of $325.44 on holiday-related purchases during the weekend, compared to $301.27 last year. Clothing, toys and gift cards were among the top gifts purchased, per the trade group’s survey.
While the NRF said that online shoppers grew at a slower pace year over year (an increase of 2%) compared to in-store retail (up 17%), the survey found that top destinations for shoppers during the period included online (42%), department stores (42%), grocery stores and supermarkets (40%), as well as clothing and accessories stores (36%).
A takeaway for the group was that holiday shoppers are starting earlier than before.
“It’s a clear trend that everything is starting earlier,” Shay said on a call Wednesday. “Retailers recognize consumers are embracing an earlier beginning of the season. And as a result, we see changes in holiday inventory, what’s stocked, the way promotions and discounts are being offered.”
Over half (56%) of consumers surveyed said they took advantage of early holiday deals prior to Thanksgiving, with 24% doing so before Nov. 16.