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Consumer Trends
Potential for 135.8 Million Holiday Shoppers to Shop Online, In Stores Thanksgiving Weekend
For immediate release
November 19, 2015

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Retailers have already given consumers several good reasons to start their holiday shopping earlier
NRF President and CEO
Matthew Shay

Although nearly 60 percent of holiday shoppers had already started checking off their shopping lists by November 10, millions more are eagerly waiting to hear what retailers have in store – and online – for the biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year. According to NRF’s Preliminary Thanksgiving Weekend Survey, an estimated 135.8 million shoppers (58.7%) definitely will or may shop on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and/or Sunday, similar to the 61.1 percent who planned to last year and more than the 55 percent of holiday shoppers who said they did shop in stores and online over the weekend in 2014.

NRF’s 2014 Thanksgiving Weekend results Survey found 133.7 million holiday shoppers were in stores and online over the holiday weekend.

“The importance of Thanksgiving weekend to both retailers and consumers will never change. However, retailers have already given consumers several good reasons to start their holiday shopping earlier,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We suspect early holiday shoppers could still be on the fence about whether or not to try their hand at finding online and in- store deals Thanksgiving weekend.”

“To make it even easier on holiday shoppers this year, we expect retailers will offer exclusive savings each day of the big weekend, including Thanksgiving and Black Friday-only deals and even extended Cyber Monday promotions throughout the week that follows,” continued Shay. “But this weekend isn’t the end-all-be-all; it’s important to remember, there will be several important weekends to keep an eye on before we wrap up the holiday season.”

Of those who plan to or are anticipating they may shop online or in store over the weekend, most will shop on Black Friday (73.5% vs. 68.2% from NRF’s preliminary survey in 2014), though 22.3 percent say they are eagerly anticipating retailers’ Thanksgiving Day deals, compared to 18.3 percent in NRF’s preliminary 2014 survey. Saturday is often overlooked because it’s sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the numbers speak for themselves: 49 percent of those surveyed say they will shop in stores and online on Saturday, up from the 42.9 percent in last year’s preliminary survey. One in five (23.1%) say they will or may shop on Sunday.

NRF also asked those Saturday shoppers if they would specifically shop for Small Business Saturday: the survey found 22.3 percent said they would and 54 percent say maybe.

And for the first year NRF asked about plans to shop on Cyber Monday. According to the survey 79.6 percent – or a potential 183.8 million unique shoppers – said they would or may shop on Cyber Monday. 

Millennials love Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday Shopping

When it comes to holiday celebrations over the Thanksgiving weekend, it is clear millennials are still quite interested in being a part of the shopping experience. According to the survey 77.8 percent of 18-24 year olds and 77.4 percent of 25-34 year olds said they definitely will or may shop online and in stores over the Thanksgiving weekend.

“Millennials love shopping in stores and online over Thanksgiving weekend for several reasons, including the opportunities afforded to them that allow them to splurge on ‘non-gifts’ for themselves and even the potential to sleep in on Black Friday after having spent the night before bouncing from store to store,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “For these adults, it’s less about making room for pumpkin pie and more about going out with friends, checking out the deals through their mobile phones and experiencing retailers’ night owl hours and perhaps making a dent in their shopping lists.”

“Given how shoppers today overall gravitate towards all things digital, there’s a high likelihood online shopping will be bigger than ever over the holiday weekend and on Cyber Monday,” continued Goodfellow.

Although the entire weekend is seen as one big social experience, Black Friday is expected to be the biggest day for these age groups. Of those millennials who will or may shop over the holiday weekend, the survey found 84.3 percent of 18-24 year olds and 80.2 percent of 25-34 year olds say they will shop on Black Friday. One-quarter (25.4%) of 18-24 year olds will or may shop on Thanksgiving Day and nearly one-third (32.7%) of 25-34 year olds will make room for shopping after turkey and dessert.

Twenty-five to 34 year olds also seem to be more likely to specifically support Small Business Saturday: 34.7 percent of those who are planning to or may shop on Saturday will specifically shop to support small businesses over the weekend.

And when it comes to Cyber Monday, there’s no question that young adults still love the idea of exclusive Cyber Monday deals. According to the survey 88.7 percent of 18-24 year olds and 90.9 percent of 25-34 year olds say yes or maybe when asked if they will shop online on Cyber Monday. 

CyberMonday.com Announces Black Friday Deals of the Hour

Shop.org’s CyberMonday.com, which features promotions and deals from hundreds of retailers, will feature a Deal of the Hour on Black Friday from more than 20 different retailers. Select deals include:

Time (EST)     Merchant
12 – 1am        Under Armour
1 – 2am          Apple
2 – 3am          Sierra Trading Post
3 - 4am           Bose
4 – 5am          Omaha Steaks
5 – 6am          Magazines.com
6 – 7am         Saks
7 – 8am         Overstock

Click here for a complete list of companies and times. Offers will include free shipping specials, dollars off and even free gifts with purchase. Retailers will also use CyberMonday.com to promote their Cyber Monday Deal of the Hour. NRF will announce retailers’ Cyber Monday promotions on Sunday, November 29. 

NRF Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Results and Weekend Contact Information

NRF will release the results of its Thanksgiving Weekend Survey by 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 29. Information will include what time people started shopping on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, how many people say they shopped for Small Business Saturday and the percentage spent online in total over the weekend. NRF will also release an updated number of people who as of that Sunday are planning to shop online on Cyber Monday. MEDIA AND ANALYSTS ONLY: Additionally NRF will host an exclusive media call with President and CEO Matthew Shay at 2 p.m. An advisory will be sent to retail, trade and business media in the coming days. 

NRF offices will be closed Friday, November 28, but members of the media relations team will be available from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the press line. To request a print or broadcast interview with a NRF spokesperson at any time, please use the below contact information:

Treacy Reynolds (8 a.m. – 3 p.m.) 855-NRF-PRESS or ReynoldsT@nrf.com or press@nrf.com,

Kathy Grannis Allen, allenk@nrf.com

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