Record 166.3 Million Shoppers Expected During Thanksgiving Weekend

"Our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers."

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2022 –  An estimated 166.3 million people are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This figure is almost 8 million more people than last year and is the highest estimate since NRF began tracking this data in 2017.

“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We are optimistic that retail sales will remain strong in the weeks ahead, and retailers are ready to meet consumers however they want to shop with great products at prices they want to pay.”

According to the survey, more than two-thirds (69%) of holiday shoppers plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend this year. The top reasons consumers plan to shop are because the deals are too good to pass up (59%), because of tradition (27%) or because it is something to do (22%) over the holiday.

Black Friday continues to be the most popular day to shop, with 69% (114.9 million) planning to shop then, followed by 38% (63.9 million) on Cyber Monday. Among the 114.9 million Black Friday shoppers, 67% say they expect to head to stores, up from 64% in 2021.

Similar to 2020 and 2021, this year, 60% of holiday shoppers had started browsing and buying for the season as of early November. This consumer trend of earlier shopping was accelerated by the pandemic. In 2019, 56% of holiday shoppers had started their shopping around this time.

“While consumers continue to save the bulk of their holiday shopping for later in November and December, some of that spending has shifted into October,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “This year, 18% of holiday shoppers have completed at least half of their holiday shopping. While this is on par with last year, it is up from only 11% a decade ago.”

Online search (43%) remains the most popular source of gift inspiration, followed by friends and family (35%) and within a retail store (31%). The top five gift categories consumers plan to give are clothing (55%), followed by gift cards at 45%, toys at 37%, books/music/movies/video games at 33% and food/candy at 31%.

Gift cards remain a favorite gift item, with total spending expected to reach $28.6 billion, compared with $28.1 billion in 2021. Similar to last year, holiday shoppers plan to purchase between three to four gift cards and spend an average of $51.47 per card ($165.87 per person). Consumers are most likely to purchase a gift card for a restaurant (27%), department store (26%) or bank-issued gift card (25%). Another 10% plan to purchase a food delivery service gift card such as DoorDash or Uber Eats. 

For those buying for children, top toys for boys this year include 1. Lego, 2. Hot Wheels, 3. cars and trucks, 4. PlayStation, 5. video games, 6. Pokémon, 7. Nerf, 8. electric/remote control cars, 9. dinosaurs, and 10. Xbox. For girls, the top toys are 1. Barbie, 2. doll, 3. L.O.L. dolls, 4. Lego, 5. makeup, 6. Squishmallows, 7. American Girl and apparel (tied), 8. Disney-related items, 9. baby doll, and 10. cell phone and Magic Mixies (tied).

The survey of 7,719 adult consumers was conducted November 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

NRF forecast earlier this month that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. Last year’s holiday sales grew 13.5% over 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion, shattering previous records. Holiday retail sales have averaged an increase of 4.9% over the past 10 years, with pandemic spending in recent years accounting for considerable gains.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies. nrf.com

About Prosper Insights & Analytics
Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data serving the financial services, marketing technology, and retail industries. We provide global authoritative market information on U.S. and China consumers via curated insights and analytics. By integrating a variety of data including economic, behavioral and attitudinal data, Prosper helps companies accurately predict consumers’ future behavior to help identify market behaviors, optimize marketing efforts, and improve the effectiveness of demand generation campaigns. www.ProsperInsights.com

Related content

Winter Holidays
 
Mother and child holiday shopping
All of NRF’s holiday resources in one place, from the latest news to historical data deep dives.
Read more
Winter Holiday FAQs
 
Answers to frequently-asked questions about the holiday season.
Read more
Imports Winding Down as Holidays Near Finish
 
With most holiday merchandise already on shelves, December cargo volume should be significantly lower.
Read more