Beauty Store Business magazine - January, 2020

140 Million Shoppers Expected Thanksgiving Weekend

Shoppers at R.H. Macy's, Herald Square in New York City

Sixty-one percent of shoppers, about 140 million, say they will or may shop either Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday during Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation's Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

More specifically, 67.6 million holiday shoppers say they will shop—down slightly from 69.4 million who planned to do so last year; and 72.5 million say they will wait and see if the deals are worth it before they decide—up 2% percent over last year’s 71 million “maybe” shoppers.

“Consumers today want more than just the discounts they’ve been showered with since the start of the recession. They want exclusive offerings and a good reason to spend their discretionary budgets,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “We could witness a sea change this holiday season as consumers’ reliance on extremely deep discounts over the biggest shopping weekend of the year shifts to more of a ‘wait- and-see’ mentality around what retailers will be offering on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. We are positive retailers have a few tricks up their sleeve that will draw their customers to their stores and websites, deciding the deals are worth it after all.”

When it comes to preliminary expectations for when people will shop, of the 61.1% who will or may shop in stores and online over the weekend, 18.3%, or 25.6 million, say they will check out retailers’ Thanksgiving Day deals and shop Thursday; 74% of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day say they shopped on Thanksgiving Day last year. Additionally, 95.5 million people will shop on Black Friday, 60 million will shop on Saturday and 30.3 million will shop on Sunday.

For the first time, NRF asked shoppers about their intentions to shop on Small Business Saturday. The survey found of those shopping on Saturday, 72.7% say they will or may specifically shop for Small Business Saturday.

“More than just a shopping day, Small Business Saturday highlights the millions of entrepreneurs and visionaries who help make retail the dynamic and community-focused industry that it is,” said Shay.

Much talk has surfaced in the last few years over the number of young adults who shop on Thanksgiving. According to the survey, 79.6% of 18- to 24-year-olds will or may shop over the weekend—the highest of any age group. Nearly 22.6% will shop on Thanksgiving Day, and 79.9% will shop on Black Friday. Nearly three-quarters of 18- to 24-year-olds say they shopped on Thanksgiving last year.

“For younger shoppers, shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is as much a social experience as it is a buying mission,” said Prosper’s principal analyst Pam Goodfellow. “While these shoppers may not have the biggest holiday budgets or the longest shopping lists, they still enjoy the ‘tradition’ of heading out with friends and family on two of retail’s most exciting shopping days.”

[Image of shoppers at R.H. Macy's, Herald Square in New York City; courtesy of /Barry Winiker]