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Thanksgiving Day Promotions Win Over Millions of Holiday Shoppers, According to NRF

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For Immediate Release
Shari Brown or Kathy Grannis (855) NRF-PRESS
browns@nrf.com or grannisk@nrf.com  
www.nrf.com/holidays

Thanksgiving Day Promotions Win Over Millions of Holiday Shoppers, According to NRF


Washington, November 25, 2012 – The New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins weren’t the only winners this Thanksgiving Day as more than 35 million Americans visited retailers’ stores and websites Thursday - up from 29 million last year - scoring deals on everything from hot electronic items to cashmere sweaters and toys. According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted by BIGinsight over the weekend, traffic and spending grew over the entire weekend*. More people than ever before also shopped online and in stores on Black Friday, as 89 million shoppers braved the crowds, up from 86 million last year.

According to the survey, a record 247 million shoppers** visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 226 million last year. Making sure to take advantage of retailers’ promotions to the full extent, the average holiday shopper spent $423 this weekend, up from $398 last year. Total spending reached an estimated $59.1 billion.

“From green beans to great deals, millions of Americans found time this Thanksgiving to make the most of retailers’ promotions and enjoy a special family holiday,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “To keep their customers excited about holiday shopping, retailers will continue to offer attractive promotions through December, and provide strong consumer value with low prices, enhanced mobile and online offerings, and unique product assortment.”

Shoppers Visited Stores Earlier

Leaving the dishes for later, eager holiday shoppers ventured out as soon as they could on Thanksgiving night.  According to the survey 28.0 percent of weekend shoppers were at the stores by midnight on Black Friday, compared to 24.4 percent last year.

Weekend Shopping Included Multiple Visits to Stores and Websites

The weekend shopping bonanza wasn’t limited to stores; consumers also spent more of their holiday budget online. According to the survey, the average person spent $172.42 online over the weekend, or approximately 40.7 of their total weekend spending, up from 37.8 percent last year.

NRF also asked shoppers which days they shopped online – more than one-quarter (27.0%) of holiday shoppers said they shopped online on Thanksgiving Day, and nearly half (47.5%) on Black Friday.

“There’s no question that millions of people were drawn to retailers’ aggressive online promotions this weekend, making sure to research and compare prices days in advance to ensure they were getting the best deal they could,” said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. “However, with shopper traffic increasing at department, discount, and clothing stores over the weekend, it’s clear that consumers still recognize Black Friday as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, as they have for decades.”

Practical Consumers: Eight in 10 Buy Non-Gift Items Over the Weekend

Lured by deep discounts and practical spending habits, eight in 10 (79.6%) shoppers took advantage of retailers’ weekend promotions to buy non-gift items.

Over their weekend shopping trips, looking for both “self-gifts” and gifts for others, nearly six in 10 (57.7%) bought clothing and clothing accessories, up from 51.4 percent last year. Gift buyers also bought toys (34.6%), books, CDs, DVDs,video games (39.8%), electronics (37.7%), and jewelry (15.2%). Nearly one-third (32.6%) of shoppers bought gift cards over the weekend, up nearly 10 percentage points from the 23.1 percent who did so last year last year. 

Looking to get the best bang for their buck and eager to get their hands on exclusive product offerings, more than half (53.5%) of shoppers visited department stores this weekend, up from 48.7 percent last year. Additionally, consumers shopped at discount stores (39.4%), clothing stores (29.0%), electronics stores (33.0%), grocery stores (21.7%), and drug stores (12.7%). Taking advantage of retailers’ special online deals over the weekend, 43.8 percent of shoppers visited retailers’ websites, up from 35.2 percent last year.

About the Survey

The survey, conducted Nov. 23-24 by BIGinsight for NRF, polled 4,005 consumers and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6%.

BIGinsight delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, BIGinsight represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues. www.BIGinsight.com

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com.

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* NRF’s definition of “Black Friday weekend” includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday.
** Estimated # of shoppers Thursday through Sunday includes individual consumers shopping on multiple days.  The estimated # of unique consumers shopping in-store or online is 139.4 million adults shopping multiple days over the 4 day weekend.