Record number of shoppers reported at stores over holiday weekend, industry group says

A record number of consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend despite lingering high levels of inflation as the holiday season continues to get underway. 

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, based on the results of its annual survey released Tuesday. The total rose by 17 million people from last year and is the highest number recorded since the NRF began conducting its survey in 2017. 

That figure also surpassed the NRF’s expectations by 30 million shoppers. 

“As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release . “Retailers have responded accordingly, offering shoppers a season of buying convenience, matching sales and promotions across online and in-store channels to accommodate their customers at each interaction.” 

Shay said consumer demand is driving growth even as some may argue higher prices are causing the gains. 

The previous record in NRF’s survey was 189.6 million recorded in 2019. The total had dropped the past two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic but recovered this year. 

The number of people shopping in person at stores grew by 17 percent to 122.7 million while the number shopping online grew more modestly, by 2 percent to 130.2 million. 

The NRF’s findings are in line with Adobe Analytics data that found that online consumer spending broke a one-day records on Black Friday with $9.12 billion and on Cyber Monday with $11.3 billion. 

Black Friday was the most popular day for in-person shopping with 72.9 million visiting a store and for online shopping with 87.2 million. The Saturday after Thanksgiving came in second with in-person shoppers with 63.4 million, while Cyber Monday came in second online with 77 million. 

The NRF also found that a record 59 percent of shoppers used their mobile devices to purchase goods, up from 52 percent last year. 

Online sellers, department stores and grocery stores and supermarkets were the top destinations for consumers. 

Consumers spent an average of $325.44 on holiday-related purchases over the weekend.

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