A record 200.4 million consumers shopped over the five-day holiday weekend from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, surpassing last year’s record of 196.7 million, according to the annual survey of almost 3,500 consumers, released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights and Analytics (PIA). The figures surpassed their initial expectations of 182 million shoppers by more than 18 million.
“The five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday represents some of the busiest shopping days of the year and reflects the continued resilience of consumers and strength of the economy,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout. Retailers large and small were prepared to deliver safe, convenient and affordable shopping experiences with the products and services consumers needed, and at great prices.”
Consumers rushed to the store—and to their phones—to shop throughout the weekend, with 121.4 million people visiting physical retail locations, a slight decrease from the 122.7 million shoppers who shopped in-store in 2022. Online shoppers totaled 134.2 million, up from 130.2 million last year.
Black Friday continued its streak as the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 76.2 million shoppers visiting brick-and-mortar locations, up from 72.9 million in 2022. Around 59 million consumers shopped in stores on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, down from 63.4 million last year.
On par with last year, 78% of Saturday shoppers shopped specifically for Small Business Saturday.
Continuing the trend that started in 2019, Black Friday was also the most popular day for online shopping. Roughly 90.6 million consumers shopped online on Black Friday, up from 87.2 million in 2022. Another popular online shopping day during the holiday, Cyber Monday, saw approximately 73 million consumers shopping online, down from 77 million last year.
Around 95% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers made holiday-related purchases during the event, down from 97% last year, but in line with previous years. Consumers spent $321.41 on average on holiday items, consistent with $325.44 last year. Approximately 70% was spent specifically on gifts.
“Over the course of the weekend, consumers were able to find great deals on holiday gifts and other items they wanted,” says Phil Rist, PIA executive vice president of strategy. “This year is the first time personal care and beauty items were among the top five most popular gifts purchased over Thanksgiving weekend, with nearly one-quarter of shoppers purchasing these items.”
Consumers reported that on average, 55% of their Thanksgiving weekend purchases were specifically driven by sales and promotions, up from 52% last year. Another 31% said a limited-time sale or promotion convinced them to make a purchase they were hesitant about, up from 29%.
Retailers have continued responding to earlier holiday demand with sales and promotions throughout the season. Around 55% took advantage of early holiday sales and promotions, and 35% shopped specifically in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
Similar to last year, as of Thanksgiving weekend, the majority of consumers had started holiday shopping and were about halfway done.
The NRF says shopping during the holiday season, which they define as November through December, is expected to be record-breaking again, fueled by continued wage and job growth, and forecasts that holiday spending is expected to grow between 3% and 4%, totaling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion.