Retailers expect 137M shoppers during Black Friday weekend

Retailers expect about 137 million shoppers to come out during Thanksgiving weekend. TY GREENLEES/STAFF
Retailers expect about 137 million shoppers to come out during Thanksgiving weekend. TY GREENLEES/STAFF

An estimated 137 million people plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation.

The numbers cover Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday plus Sunday, and include both in-store and online shopping. That prediction is up from 58.7 percent — or 135.8 million people — last year.

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Holiday sales are expected to exceed $655 billion this year, far higher than previous years. Black Friday remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with Americans planning to take advantage of aggressive in-store and digital promotions over the entire holiday weekend, said Matthew Shay, CEO and president of NRF.

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“Retailers know consumers are spreading out their holiday budgets to shop throughout the season,” he said. “While there’s no doubt of the incredible promotions offered during the weekend, the holiday shopping season is long and consumers will look for and expect great deals down to the very last minute.”

The survey found that 21 percent of weekend shoppers plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, nearly the same as last year’s 22 percent. But Black Friday will remain the busiest day of the holiday weekend with 74 percent planning to shop that day, also the same as in 2015.

Black Friday is the day most Millennial weekend shoppers plan to shop – 86 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds and 78 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds.

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“Millennials continue to drive the trend of hitting the stores – both on their feet and online – as soon as the turkey is finished,” said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper Principal analyst. “Whether they’re hoping to find gifts for themselves or for the folks on their lists, they will do their research to find the best deals of the weekend and have allotted a large part of their holiday budget for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday spending.”

About 36 percent of consumers say they plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, up from the 34 percent in 2015. And, about 24 percent say they will shop on Saturday to support small businesses — up from 22 percent last year.

Want more holiday retail news? Find everything you need to know about planning your shopping outing, including hours, deals, traffic, weather and more.

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