U.S. online sales increased a total of 17.3% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to ComScore, an analytics firm whose data is closely watched by Wall Street.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) also estimated that retail sales over the full Thanksgiving weekend will reach $57.4 billion, with the average shopper spending $407.02, down from $423.55, because of lower prices. Black Friday was the biggest day, as more than 92 million people shopped for apparel, electronics and more, up from nearly 89 million last year. More than three-quarters (76.2%) of 18-to-34 year-olds shopped or planned to shop over the holiday weekend – higher than any other age group. “Cold weather, unique promotions and unbeatable prices put millions of Americans in the mood to shop for holiday gifts this weekend,” said Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO.
In a move that surprised many, several major retailers opened their stores on Thanksgiving night, offering shoppers an extra opportunity for savings. About 25% of holiday shoppers say they were at stores by 8 p.m. that day. Nearly four in 10 (37.3%) were at stores by midnight. However, more than one-third of shoppers didn’t arrive at stores until 10 a.m. or later. “Probably the most interesting is the amount of energy the consumer put into Thursday shopping,” said Bill Martin, founder of shopping analytics firm ShopperTrak. “The retailers did a good job getting them up from the dinner table and into stores.”
Consumers also logged onto their computers ahead of Cyber Monday to spend online. According to the NRF survey, 40% indicated they shopped online over the weekend, or approximately 59 million shoppers. “Online shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend continues to be more popular as retailers tout special holiday savings through their mobile apps and websites,” says Pam Goodfellow, director of Prosper’s Consumer Insights.