Holiday Shopping Off to Strong Start

Black Friday was the most popular shopping day, both online and in stores
November 28, 2016Allison Zisko

       WASHINGTON—More consumers did their holiday shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend—Black Friday was the most popular day—but they spent slightly less than they did last year, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

More than 154 million consumers shopped in stores and online over the four-day weekend, NRF said. Average spending per person over Thanksgiving weekend totaled $289.19, down slightly from $299.60 last year.

“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.

The survey found that 44 percent shopped online and 40 percent shopped in-store. The most popular day to shop online was Black Friday, up 1.3 percent from last year to 74 percent, followed by Saturday (49 percent), Thanksgiving (36 percent), and Sunday (34 percent). And, of those that shopped in store, 75 percent shopped on Black Friday, up 3.4 percent from last year, 40 percent on Saturday, 35 percent on Thanksgiving and 17 percent on Sunday.

As far as when people showed up in-store on Thursday and Friday, the survey found nearly three in 10 shoppers headed out after 10 a.m. on Black Friday, up from 24 percent last year. Less than 15 percent of consumers arrived to the stores by 6 a.m. or earlier on Black Friday. Early Thanksgiving Day in-store shopping dropped by 19 percent with only 7 percent of consumers heading to stores before 5 p.m.—while shopping that day itself was up 1 percent.

Millennials continue to drive the increase in shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, according to NRF. Eight in 10 shopped over the weekend, of which 25-34-year olds shopped the most in store (56 percent) and online (62 percent).

The survey also 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.

According to the survey, 56 percent of smartphone owners and 53 percent of tablet owners used their devices to assist with weekend shopping activities.

The survey, which asked 4,330 consumers about Thanksgiving weekend shopping plans, was conducted November 25-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

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