190 million Shoppers Set 5-day record – Spending up 16 percent

With Thanksgiving arriving six days earlier than last year, consumers came out in force to shop online and in-store from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), and Prosper Insights and Analytics, a record 189.6 million consumers spent an average of $361.90 on holiday items over the five days, up 16 percent from the $313.29 spent in 2018. The survey also pointed out these facts about consumers:


  • Seventy-one percent ($257.33) spent on gifts
  • Biggest spenders were 25-34-year-olds ($440.46)
  • 35-44-year-olds spent $439.72

Multi-channel Shoppers Spent More
Consumers quickly make the transition between purchasing online or in-store. However, the preference for shopping online held a slight edge over going into a physical store during the 5-day Thanksgiving weekend. The NRF survey indicates 124 million people opted to shop online versus 142.2 million people who bought in a store. The 75.7 million people who chose to shop both channels spent about 25 percent more ($366.79) than those who shopped only a single channel.

Black Friday is Busiest Day in Store
The consumer demand for Black Friday deals made Friday the busiest shopping day of the extended weekend. However, the shoppers who made purchases on Saturday also had another purpose in mind. Seventy-three percent of these shoppers specifically chose to frequent small businesses 

  • Black Friday, 84.2 million shoppers
  • Small Business Saturday, 59.9 million
  • Thanksgiving Day, 37.8 million
  • Sunday, 29.2 million
  • Cyber Monday, 21.8 million

Black Friday Tops Cyber Monday Online
It’s a first! Since it’s inception, Cyber Monday has resulted in more online shopping activity than Black Friday. That changed this year when 93.2 million shoppers made ten million more purchases on Black Friday compared to 83.3 million on Cyber Monday.

  • 49.7 million, Thursday
  • 58.2 million, Saturday
  • 43.1 million, Sunday

Free Shipping Convinced Shoppers to Buy
The NRF survey notes, “With online and in-store shopping increasingly intermingled, free shipping was the biggest reason for shoppers to make a purchase they were otherwise hesitant about.” Other factors motivated shoppers to open their wallets.

  • 49 percent mentioned free shipping (up from 42 percent in 2018)
  • 20 percent cited the ability to order online and pick up in-store (up from 15 percent last year)
  • 36 percent took advantage of limited-time sales or promotions
  • 36 percent mentioned an easy-to-use website, or app (21 percent)

In summarizing the survey results, Phil Rist, Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy says,
“The growth in online retail sales is a tide that lifts everybody. When consumers are buying from retailers online, but picking up or making returns in-store, it is more and more difficult to distinguish between the sales retailers make in their stores and the ones they make on their websites.”

Consumers Prefer Emails
When it comes to finding out about deals and promotions, 39 percent of consumers prefer to receive an email. Conventional advertising circulars and online search tied at 38 percent, slightly less than email. Mobile devices continue to play an essential role in the purchasing decision. Seventy-five percent of shoppers (up from 66 percent last year), use them to research products, compare prices, and make purchases.

52 percent of Shopping Completed
It seems as if holiday shopping starts earlier each year. The survey reveals 56 percent of consumers had done some holiday shopping before the first week in November. The NRF forecasts that sales will total between $727.9 and $730.7 billion from November 1 through December 31. On average, consumers expect to spend $1, 047.83 (includes earlier purchases). This amount is a 4 percent increase in spending over the previous year.

Shoppers Shift Into High Gear
In commenting on Thanksgiving Weekend, Mathew Shay, NRF President, and CEO said: “Whether they’re looking for something unique on Main Street, making a trip to the mall, or clicking from the couch, this is when holiday shoppers shift into gear.”

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