Record Number of Shoppers Celebrated Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

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 released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The figures surpassed NRF’s 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 NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a news release. “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 Enjoyed Both In-Store and Online Shopping

Shoppers utilized both online and in-store channels throughout the weekend, with 121.4 million people visiting physical retail locations to browse items and make in-store purchases. This figure is consistent with 122.7 million in 2022. Online shoppers totaled 134.2 million, up from 130.2 million last year, according to the NRF. 

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Black Friday continued its streak as the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 76.2 million shoppers opting to visit bricks-and-mortar locations, up from 72.9 million in 2022. About 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.  

Thanksgiving Weekend Purchases

The top destinations for Thanksgiving weekend shoppers were online (44%), grocery stores and supermarkets (42%), department stores (40%), clothing and accessories stores (36%) and electronics stores (29%), according to the NRF.

The vast majority (95%) of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers made holiday-related purchases during the event, down from 97% last year, but in line with historical levels. Consumers spent $321.41 on average on these types of items, consistent with $325.44 last year. Approximately 70% ($226.55) was spent specifically on gifts.

The top gifts shoppers purchased during the five-day period were clothing and accessories (bought by 49% of those surveyed), toys (31%), gift cards (25%), books, video games and other media (23%), and personal care or beauty items (23%), the NRF states.

Thanksgiving Weekend Deals Drove Purchases

“Over the course of the weekend, consumers were able to find great deals on holiday gifts and other items they wanted,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist says in the news release. “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% in 2022. Another 31% said a limited-time sale or promotion convinced them to make a purchase they were hesitant about, up from 29% last year, according to the NRF.