More consumers shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year than last, but aggressive discounts — both online and in stores — led to a drop in average spending per person during the four-day weekend.
According to a survey conducted Friday and Saturday by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 154 million Americans had either shopped, or were planning to shop, over the holiday weekend — up from 151 million in 2015. However, customers spent an average of $289.19 in this period — down 3 percent from the $299.60 spent last year.
The reason for this drop in spending? Heavy discounts offered by retailers both online and in-store.
“It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement released Sunday. “In fact, over one third of shoppers said 100 percent of their purchases were on sale.”
Of the 154 million shoppers, over 108 million shopped online over the weekend — roughly 5 million more than last year — while 99 million shopped in stores — down 3 million over 2015. The two figures are not mutually exclusive.
“It is clear weekend shoppers were in the mood to find great deals. Fifty percent of consumers that shopped in store indicated that the deals were too good to pass up,” NRF said in the statement. “The survey found that of those that shopped in store, 51 percent shopped at department stores, 34 percent at discount stores, 32 percent at electronics stores, 28 percent at clothing or accessories stores, and 25 percent at grocery/supermarket stores.”
The strong growth in online sales was also evident in a separate survey by Adobe Digital Insights, which found that on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, online sales rose nearly 18 percent year-on-year to $5.27 billion. Black Friday set a new record by surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time, while Thanksgiving accounted for $1.93 billion.
And, this growth is likely to continue on Cyber Monday, when NRF estimates over 122 million customers would shop online — up from 121 million last year.
“On Cyber Monday, retailers deliver online discounts unlike any other day of the year — driving consumers to shop online no matter where they are or what device they’re shopping from,” Shay said. “Millions of consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend and reserved a portion of their budgets exclusively for Cyber Monday, knowing that there will be digital deals that are too good to pass up.”