When it comes to holiday shopping, Americans seem to be saying one thing and doing another. According to several polls taken throughout the year, many consumers said they were cutting back on their holiday shopping.
But if this past 5-day holiday shopping weekend is any indication, that’s not close to the truth. Stats just released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) reveal a record-breaking 220.4 million consumers shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday—topping 2022’s 196.7 million shoppers, which also set a record. This robust turnout of shoppers was significantly more than the NRF’s initial expectations of 182 million.
Online sales were the clear winner of the weekend shopping spree. The NRF reports that 121.4 million consumers shopped in-store, slightly down from last year’s 122.7 million. And 134.2 million shopped online compared to 130.2 last year.
Black Friday was the star day of the weekend—the most popular day for both in-store and online sales. That day alone saw 76.2 million consumers pour into stores and 90.6 million shop online. Both numbers topped 2022’s sales of 72.9 million in-store and 87.2 million online.
This matches reporting from Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which showed Black Friday sales up 8.5% and in-store revenues slightly up 1.1%
Sadly, the NRF report shows fewer shoppers on Small Business Saturday—59 million compared to 2022’s 63.4 million. Personally, I saw less Small Business Saturday marketing this year—something we all need to remedy next year.
What’s driving these sales? Microsoft says, “Deal-making is the new shopping fever.” Consumers are looking for deals and bargains and will go elsewhere if you’re not offering them. That doesn’t mean you need to be the low-cost leader—you can’t. But you can offer deals for shopping in your store or on your website.
According to the NRF, consumers say, on average, sales and promotions specifically drove 55% of their Thanksgiving weekend purchases, and another 31% of consumers say a limited-time sale or promotion convinced them to buy something they were hesitant about.
Don’t let these numbers scare you—while most (85%) of consumers have already started holiday shopping, they were less than half done.