An estimated 165.3 million people are expected to shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, according to findings from the National Retail Foundation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual survey emailed to Retail Dive. Among those consumers, 39.6 million may shop on Thanksgiving Day, 114.6 million on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday, 33.3 million on Sunday and 68.7 million on Cyber Monday.
Of those who don’t plan to shop that weekend, 53% say something could persuade them to do so, the survey found. Twenty-six percent reported they would decide to shop if they got a discount on a desired item, and 12% say they would shop if invited by a friend or family member, according to the survey.
Shoppers ages 18 to 24 are the most likely (88%) to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, followed by 84% of shoppers 25 to 34 who said the same, per the survey findings. That’s higher than the overall 69% of shoppers across all generations surveyed.
The NRF estimates that the holiday season will generate $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion in sales, a potential increase of between 3.8% and 4.2% from last year. Previous research from Adobe Analytics estimates that online sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday will account for 20% of total holiday revenue.
Even still, the holiday shopping season has technically already begun and will extend beyond Thanksgiving. A report from RetailMeNot found that shoppers began buying their holiday goods in July. Meanwhile, Profitero found that 45% of shoppers started shopping before November.
"The tradition of Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping has become a five-day event with consumers spending money in stores, supporting local small businesses, and online with their mobile devices and computers," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. "Even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend."
On the other hand, a Deloitte report indicated that 70% of consumers plan to shop in early December, pushing the shopping season closer to the holidays. This latest research from the NRF offers insight into what will draw Thanksgiving weekend shoppers. Per the NRF’s findings, 65% of shoppers planning to shop on Thanksgiving for deals too good to miss, 28% would do so in the name of tradition and 22% said it’s when they like to shop.
"We expect the biggest increase in potential shoppers for Thanksgiving Day this year," Prosper Insights executive vice president of strategy Phil Rist said in a statement. "We anticipate that people may head to stores if they are open or shop from their phones while watching football."