Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Washington, November 27, 2011 – For those keeping score, consumers’ voracious appetites for great deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year helped secure this weekend’s place in the record books. According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted by BIGresearch over the weekend, traffic and spending were up both online and in stores, reaching historic highs.
According to the survey, a record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend*, up from 212 million last year. Digging deep into their holiday budgets, the average holiday shopper spent $398.62 this weekend, up from $365.34 last year. Total spending reached an estimated $52.4 billion. Additionally, shoppers also checked out retailers’ deals online, spending an average of $150.53 on the web – 37.8 percent of their total weekend spending.
“Stuffed to the brim from their holiday meals and eager to shop, more consumers than ever turned out for retailers’ Black Friday promotions, a promising sign for the economic recovery,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “After an historic holiday weekend, retailers know the holiday season is far from over and will continue to look for ways to keep excite holiday shoppers and build on the momentum we’ve seen thus far.”
The survey found 28.7 million people shopped online and at stores on Thanksgiving Day – up from 22.2 million last year. More people than ever before also shopped online and in stores on Black Friday, as 86.3 million shoppers braved the crowds that day alone.
Shoppers Visited Stores Earlier
Continuing the momentum from 2010, the appetite for shoppers to get a head start on Black Friday continued, as nearly one-quarter (24.4%) of Black Friday shoppers were at the stores by midnight on Black Friday, either waiting for stores to open or visiting retailers who opened on Thanksgiving evening. By comparison, the number of people who were at the stores at midnight was 9.5 percent in 2010 and 3.3 percent in 2009.
“The appetite for these early openings is only getting stronger among holiday shoppers, and retailers did a great job providing Americans just what they wanted this weekend – the ability to shop on Black Friday without having to get out of bed before dawn,” said BIGresearch Executive Vice President Phil Rist. “Consumers are clearly demonstrating their desire to spend this holiday season, and shopping early and often seem to be their new mantra as they seek the best value for all their holiday purchases.”
Clothing, Electronics Among Top Gifts; Specialty Stores See Traffic Increases
Lured by promotions on everything from winter apparel to tablet devices, shoppers definitely stocked up on discretionary gifts this year. More than half (51.4%) bought clothing and clothing accessories, and gift buyers were also drawn to promotions on electronics and computer-related accessories over the weekend. Nearly four in 10 (39.4%) bought electronic items, up from 36.7 percent last year. Additionally, shoppers stocked up on home décor (21.3%), gift cards (23.1%), toys (32.6%), and jewelry (21.8%).
“Consumers are clearly demonstrating their desire to spend this holiday season, but are far from throwing caution to the wind when it comes to how much they will spend on gifts,” said Phil Rist, EVP, BIGresearch. “Retailers will have to stick to an aggressive holiday promotion schedule to keep consumers interested.”
Scouring deals from discount stores to grocery stores, shoppers visited a variety of retailers over the weekend. The most popular shopping destinations once again were at department stores (48.7%) and discounters (37.5%). Additionally, consumers also shopped at clothing stores (24.6%), drug stores (14.0%) and grocery stores (23.8%), electronics stores (30.8%) and craft or fabric stores (7. 9%.) As retailers leverage their websites to offer fantastic deals for online holiday shoppers, more people logged onto retailers’ websites over the weekend (35.2% vs. 33.6% last year), boding well for retailers who are planning Cyber Monday promotions.
Shoppers Increasingly Turning to Mobile, Tablets
For the first time, NRF asked how shoppers would use their smartphones and tablets over the weekend as well. More than one-quarter (25.7%) of Americans with tablet devices said they did or will purchase items with their devices, and 37.4 percent will or have researched products and compared prices with their tablets. Overall, more than half (57.1%) said they have or will use their tablet devices to shop for gifts this weekend.
About the Survey
The survey, conducted Nov. 24-26 by BIGresearch for NRF, polled 3,826 consumers and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6%.
BIGresearch® consumer intelligence provides analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media. The BIGresearch Consumer Intentions and Actions® Survey (CIA®) of 8,000+ respondents is conducted monthly and the Simultaneous Media Usage® Survey (SIMM®) of 15,000+ respondents is conducted semi-annually.
As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com.
* NRF’s definition of “Black Friday weekend” includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday. The survey estimates number of shoppers, not number of people.