151 million shopped the holiday weekend

More than 151 million people shopped in stores or online over the weekend, 11 percent more than expected, according to the National Retail Federation.  

When the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics surveyed shoppers in mid-November, 136 million said they intended to shop over the holiday weekend. Specifically, nearly 102 million people said they shopped in stores over the Thanksgiving weekend, and more than 103 million shopped online.

Average spending per person over the weekend totaled $299.60, with an average of $229.56 going towards gifts, or 76.6 percent of total purchases. Those under 35 were most likely to shop over the weekend. Specifically, 25 to 34-year-olds spent an average of $425.08 on all holiday purchases, with 69.3 percent of that going towards gifts ($294.44).

Survey results are not comparable with last year's, as the methodology has changed, noted the NRF.

"We recognize the experience is much different than it used to be as just as many people want that unique, exclusive online deal as they do that in-store promotion," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities."

Shay spoke with retail CEOs and said key takeaways this year include the importance of the in-store experience; the strength of online sales on Thanksgiving day; and the fact that early bird and well-timed deals and discounts are getting shopper's attention.

"Retailers have done a tremendous job meeting the customer in the middle this holiday season, giving them both an unforgettable in-store experience that is still critical to any retailer's success, and a unique opportunity to find great deals without ever having to leave home through mobile and online promotions," he said.

Millennials turned out early and often for sales, including those on Thanksgiving Day. The survey found nearly half (49.2 percent) said they arrived at the store at or before midnight to begin shopping. That number jumps to 61.1 percent for 18 to 24-year-olds and 60.2 percent for 25 to 34-year-olds.

Of those who shopped in stores over the weekend, 72.8 percent—or 74.2 million shoppers—said they shopped on Black Friday, the biggest day of the weekend; another 34.6 million (34 percent) said they shopped on Thanksgiving Day and 46.8 million (45.9 percent) shopped on Saturday.

Roughly 41 million people (39.8 percent) said they shopped online on Thanksgiving Day and 75.3 million (73.1 percent) shopped online on Black Friday.

For more:
-See this NRF report summary

Related stories:
Walmart, Target report strong Thanksgiving sales
136M to shop Thanksgiving weekend
NRF forms new Digital Council
Sales to rise 2.4% this holiday season
August sales, traffic dip 7% and 10%

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