Here’s How Thanksgiving Weekend Was for Retailers Overall

New York–The numbers are in for how the long Thanksgiving weekend was for retailers across the country, and they’re mixed.

ShopperTrak, the Chicago-based firm that tracks foot traffic in stores, reported that shopper visits to stores on Thursday and Friday were down a combined 1 percent when compared with the same days last year. Black Friday shopper visits in particular were flat year-over-year.

Over the past few years, Thanksgiving Day store openings were pulling shoppers from visiting stores on Black Friday. However, this year that trend reversed itself for a number of reasons, including fewer store openings on Thanksgiving Day and online shopping, ShopperTrak said.

The company also said that moving forward this holiday season, it’s “imperative” that brick-and-mortar retailers align their operations, including marketing, staffing and inventory, to exceed customer expectations and capitalize on the sales opportunities that remain for the busy shopping days ahead.

The National Retail Federation also released its numbers from the weekend, finding that more than 154 million consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend, up from 151 million shoppers in 2015, on the strength of Black Friday deals and promotions. The 154 million shoppers is also exceeded the NRF’s prediction of 137 million.

Average spending per person, however, was down from $299.60 to $289.19, with an average of $214.13, or 74 percent of total purchases, going toward gifts.

When it comes to where consumers shopped over the weekend, the survey found that 44 percent went online and 40 percent shopped in-store (survey takers were allowed to select more than one answer).

Of those that shopped in store, 75 percent shopped on Black Friday (up 3 percent from last year), 40 percent on Saturday, 35 percent on Thanksgiving and 17 percent on Sunday.

The most popular day to shop online was Black Friday, up more than 1 percent from last year to 74 percent, followed by Saturday (49 percent), Thanksgiving (36 percent) and Sunday (34 percent).

Other interesting points the NRF reported are as follows.
• Of the consumers who shopped in stores, 51 percent shopped at department stores, 34 percent at discount stores, 32 percent at electronics stores, 28 percent at clothing or accessories stores and 25 percent at grocery stores/supermarkets.
• Among those who shopped in store on Thursday and Friday, 29 percent headed out after 10 a.m. on Black Friday, which is up from 24 percent last year. Less than 15 percent arrived to stores by 6 a.m. or earlier on Black Friday.
• Early Thanksgiving Day in-store shopping also dropped, declining 19 percent, with only 7 percent consumers heading to stores before 5 p.m. Shopping on that day itself was up 1 percent.
• Millennials continued to drive the increase in shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, with eight out of 10 shoppers in this age group shopping over the weekend. Twenty five to 34 year olds shopped the most in store (56 percent) and online (62 percent).

Sales on so-called Cyber Monday, meanwhile, are set to exceed initial estimates and reach a record $3.39 billion, CNBC reported early Tuesday.
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/29/us-cyber-monday-sales-jump-set-to-surpass-initial-estimate.html

That is a 10 percent year-over-year increase that further underscores the shift to online shopping, which also was strong over Thanksgiving, and helps to make up for the sales that retailers aren’t making in stores.

–Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff contributed to this report.

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