Thanksgiving weekend retail sales, the official start of the Christmas holidays retail sales season, showed surprising strength this year.
A record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to a report issued by the National Retail Federation
The total number of shoppers grew by nearly 17 million from 2021 and is the highest figure since NRF first started tracking this data in 2017
More than three-quarters (76%) of consumers say they shopped over the holiday weekend, up from 70% in 2021. The numbers shattered NRF’s initial expectations by more than 30 million.
“As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible,” NRF President Matthew Shay observed.
More than half (56%) of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before Thanksgiving this year. One-quarter (24%) did so before Nov. 16 and another 36% shopped in the week leading up to Thanksgiving (Nov. 16-23).
Shay also took issue with those who attribute the increases to inflation, noting the historic growth in consumers shopping in-store and online. “It is consumer demand that is driving growth.”
Top destinations for shoppers were online sites (42%), department stores (42%), grocery stores and supermarkets (40%), clothing and accessories stores (36%), and discount stores (32%).
The top gifts purchased were clothing and accessories (bought by 50%), toys (31%), gift cards (27%), books/video games/other media (24%), food and candy (23%), and electronics (23%).