(WASHINGTON) - The biggest shopping weekend of the year is right around the corner and 69 percent of Americans - an estimated 164 million people - are planning to shop or are considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, according to the annual survey released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. For the first time in survey history, the numbers include Cyber Monday in addition to Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Sunday.
“This year, we updated our survey to more accurately capture consumer behavior throughout the entire shopping weekend - Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers will benefit from competitive promotions both in stores and online lasting the course of the weekend, allowing them to find the best gifts at the lowest prices.”
Of those considering shopping the long holiday weekend, the survey found that 20 percent plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day (32 million) but Black Friday will remain the busiest day with 70 percent planning to shop then (115 million). A substantial 43 percent are expected to shop on Saturday (71 million), with 76 percent saying they will do so specifically to support Small Business Saturday. On Sunday, 21 percent expect to shop (35 million) and 48 percent are expected to shop on Cyber Monday (78 million).
Of those shopping, 66 percent said they’re doing so to take advantage of deals and promotions retailers will offer, while 26 percent cited the tradition of shopping over Thanksgiving weekend and 23 percent said it’s something to do over the holiday weekend. Another 23 percent said it is when they start their holiday shopping.
According to the survey, 56 percent of Americans have already started their holiday shopping, but most still have a long way to go. Only 12 percent of consumers have completed at least half of their shopping, while only 2 percent have finished all of their holiday shopping.
When asked what they enjoy the most about shopping during the holidays, 35 percent said it is a family tradition while 23 percent said they most enjoy holiday decorations and displays; 18 percent cited finding the perfect gift for someone.
“While the utility of the weekend will continue to draw shoppers into stores and online to efficiently and inexpensively check off their lists, we’re also seeing consumers report tradition and the opportunity to partake in holiday cheer as reasons for shopping, too,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “By now, people know what sort of deals they can expect to see during the weekend and are budgeting for them accordingly, and in many cases expertly.”
“For Gen Z, the holiday shopping weekend is a can’t-miss opportunity,” Goodfellow said. “This group overwhelmingly sees in-store shopping as a valuable way to connect with others, be it friends, family or store associates at their favorite retailers.”
While many consumers will take advantage of deals over Thanksgiving weekend, 31 percent will refrain from shopping that weekend. Of those not planning to participate, 52 percent won’t shop because they do not enjoy the experience and 51 percent say they never shop during Thanksgiving weekend. Of those not shopping, 46 percent said nothing would change their mind but 27 percent said a good sale or discount on an item they want could get them to shop.
The survey, which asked 7,439 consumers about their shopping plans, was conducted October 31 - November 7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.