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Holiday 2017

2017 holiday retail sales exceed NRF forecast

NRF reported that holiday sales during November and December increased 5.5 percent over the same period in 2016. Stronger employment, higher confidence and $691.9 in growing wages led consumers to spend more than had been expected.

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Consumers and retailers win big over Thanksgiving holiday

From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday weekend, beating the 164 million estimated shoppers from an earlier survey. The most popular day for in-store shopping was Black Friday, cited by 77 million consumers, followed by Small Business Saturday with 55 million consumers. 

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November survey: Young adults are spending more this holiday season

54 percent of consumers overall plan to spend about the same as last year, while 24 percent plan to spend more. Among those aged 18-24 — which includes the oldest members of Generation Z — 46 percent say they will spend more than last year. The survey also explores purchasing patterns in toys and gift cards.

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164 million consumers plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend

An estimated 69 percent of Americans — about 164 million people — plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend, according to NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The numbers include Cyber Monday in addition to Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Sunday.

View survey data.

October consumer survey points to busy holiday season 

Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. That’s up 3.4 percent from the $935.58 consumers said they would spend when surveyed at the same time last year.

View survey highlights.

2017 Forecast: Holiday sales expected to grow between 3.6 and 4 percent

NRF expects holiday retail sales in November and December – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year.

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December survey: Holiday shoppers rushing to meet deadline

Only 12 percent of consumers had finished their holiday shopping as of December 12, with the average shopper having completed only 61 percent. 6 percent said they will still be shopping Sunday and 5 percent said their final gifts won’t be bought until after Christmas.

View survey highlights.

Retail Holiday Planning Playbook

The 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook is retail’s guide for understanding the key lessons from the 2016 season and how the consumer’s ever-evolving path to purchase will impact the upcoming holiday season. To help retailers prepare for the 2017 holidays, NRF surveyed over 2,000 holiday shoppers to understand their experiences and behavior during the 2016 season and what they expect from retailers moving forward. Along with data highlighting consumer expectations, the report provides suggestions for retailers to consider when planning for the season. Download the Playbook.

Historical Highlights


The 2016 Holiday season was full of surprises. The start of the season coincided with the U.S. presidential election and consumers seemed initially cautious about their spending plans. However, once the election had passed, shoppers fully embraced the holiday spirit. Total holiday retail sales during November and December increased 4 percent over 2015, exceeding NRF’s initial forecast of $655.8 billion. For the second year in a row, Barbie topped the toy list for girls while Legos continued to lead the list for boys. In addition to spending on gifts for friends, family members and co-workers, consumers also use the season to pick up non-gift items. Nearly two-thirds of consumers planned to take advantage of the 2016 holiday sales to splurge on something extra for themselves or their families. See more highlights in the 2016 Holiday slideshare.

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The 2015 holiday season provided tough obstacles for the retail industry including weather and inventory challenges. Average spending per person during the holiday season was over $800 for the second year in a row, with more than half of shoppers splurging on non-gift items for themselves. Barbie was back in the number one spot on the Top Toys list after falling behind Disney’s Frozen in 2014, following an 11-year reign.

2015 report: thinking big about shopping small

Small businesses have a distinct advantage: They’re agile and can adapt to changing conditions throughout the holiday season. In 2015, one in four holiday shoppers planned to purchase from small or local retailers. NRF's report offers a look at survey data to see how consumers who planned to “shop small” differed from the average shopper. Download the report.

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