Retailers Should See Strong Thanksgiving Weekend Sales

Retailers Should See Strong Thanksgiving Weekend Sales

Nov. 22, 2021
On Thanksgiving Day, 65% will shop in stores, up from 50% last year and on Black Friday, 64% will hit the malls, up from 51% last year.

Consumers are looking to purchase earlier this year. In fact, more than two million people than last year are expected to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to a survey released on Nov. 17 from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analaytics. 

“Consumers are starting earlier than ever to be sure they can get what they want, when they want it, at a price they want to pay," said NRF CEO Matthew Shay, in a statement. " Black Friday stopped being a one-day event years ago, and this year some consumers started shopping for Christmas as early as Halloween. NRF is encouraging consumers to shop safe and shop early, but retailers are confident they have enough inventory on hand to meet holiday demand.”

Fully two-thirds (66%) of holiday shoppers surveyed in early November plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend this year. That amounts to an estimated 158.3 million people, up from 156.6 million last year but still below the 165.3 million in pre-pandemic 2019.

When Are People Shopping

Looking at the specific days, 108 million plan to shop on Black Friday, while 58.1 million will shop on Small Business Saturday. Sunday shoppers will number 31.2 million. And Cyber Monday will see 62.8 million on Cyber Monday. ( Note: The total of the daily numbers exceeds the overall figure because some consumers will shop multiple days.)

As to where people are shopping, on Thanksgiving Day, 65% are likely to do so in stores, up from 50% last year, when worries about COVID-19 were still keeping many people at home. On Black Friday, 64% are likely to shop in stores, up from 51% last year.

What Are People Buying

 Clothing continued to top the list, expected to be given by 53% of shoppers, followed by gift cards at 46%, toys at 39%, books/music/movies/video games at 35% and food/candy at 31% as the top five categories.

Gift cards remain a perennial favorite for the flexibility afforded to recipients, with spending expected to total $28.1 billion, the highest since $29.9 billion in 2018. Shoppers plan to buy an average of three or four cards this year with an average of $48.92 per card, including restaurant cards (cited by 32 percent), department store cards (26%), bank-issued gift cards (also 26%) and coffee shop cards (20%).

NRF forecast last month that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion – setting records for both the growth rate and total amount spent. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $997.73.

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