Black Friday Spending Trumps Expectations

Average spending per person during the five-day period was $335.47.

NORTH AMERICA–More than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (which includes Cyber Monday), beating the 164 million estimated shoppers from an earlier survey by the National Retail Federation.

Furthermore, this year marks the first time that the NRF has included Cyber Monday data in its Thanksgiving weekend results survey. Due to the inclusion of Cyber Monday, as well as several changes to the survey’s methodology, this year’s results do not include historical data from previous years.

According to the survey, average spending per person during the five-day period was $335.47, with 75 percent specifically going toward gifts. The survey also found that this year’s biggest spenders were older Millennials (25-34 years old) at $419.52.

“All the fundamentals were in place for consumers to take advantage of incredible deals and promotions retailers had to offer,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “From good weather across the country to low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, the climate was right, literally and figuratively, for consumers to tackle their holiday shopping lists online and in stores.”

When it comes to where consumers made their purchases, the survey found that 64 million consumers shopped both online or in stores. In addition, more than 58 million consumers only shopped online and over 51 million only shopped in stores. The multi-channel shopper also spent $82 more on average than the online-only shopper, and $49 more compared to those who only shopped in stores.

Furthermore, the most popular day for in-store shopping was Black Friday (77 million consumers), followed by Small Business Saturday (55 million). For online shopping, the top two days were Cyber Monday (81 million) and Black Friday (66 million). The survey also found that 11 percent of consumers shopped before 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day while another 11 percent started at 6 p.m. On Black Friday, 25 percent started at 10 a.m. or later.

Additionally, top shopping destinations among consumers were department stores (43 percent), online retailers (42 percent), electronic stores (32 percent), clothing and accessories stores (31 percent) and discount stores (31 percent). In addition, some of the most popular gift purchases were clothing and accessories (58 percent), toys (38 percent), books and other media (31 percent), electronics (30 percent) and gift cards (23 percent).

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • Sixty-three percent of smartphone owners used their device to make holiday decisions.
  • Twenty-nine percent of smartphone owners used their phones to make actual purchases.
  • On Cyber Monday, 49 percent of consumers started shopping early in the morning while 41 percent started in late morning, with 75 percent using their computers at home, 43 percent using a mobile device and 13 percent using computers at work.
  • Sixty percent of those surveyed said the majority of their purchases were driven primarily by sales.
  • Forty-eight percent of consumers said deals were better than earlier this season.

In addition, according to analysis by Boomerang Commerce, online retailers like Amazon were offering bigger savings. Amazon also reported that it sold 3 million toys halfway through Cyber Monday. Meanwhile, rival retailer Walmart has proven itself to be within striking distance of matching Amazon’s online prices for the first time, according to Reuters.

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