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NRF’s Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey: 140.1 million unique shoppers, similar to last year’s preliminary survey results of 140.3 million

WASHINGTON, 2014-11-21 — /EPR Retail News/ — Americans are readying for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend by making sure they have a menu for their family gathering and a complete shopping list for their weekend shopping activities. According to NRF’s Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, which provides a preliminary look at shopping expectations over Thanksgiving weekend, six in 10 (61.1%) say they will or may shop either Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, which equates to more than 140.1 million unique shoppers.* Expectations are similar to last year’s preliminary survey results of 140.3 million.

Specifically, 67.6 million holiday shoppers (29.5%) say they will shop, down slightly from 69.4 million who planned to do so last year, and 72.5 million (31.6%) 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 percent who will or may shop in stores and online over the weekend, 18.3 percent (25.6 million) say they will check out retailers’ Thanksgiving Day deals and shop Thursday, down from the preliminary 23.5 percent last year; 74 percent of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day say they shopped on Thanksgiving Day last year.

Additionally, more than two-thirds (68.2%) will shop on Black Friday (95.5 million), two in five (42.9%) will shop on Saturday (60 million) and one in five (21.6%) will shop on Sunday (30.3 million.)

For the first time NRF asked shoppers about their intentions to shop on Small Business Saturday. The survey found of those shopping on Saturday, nearly three-quarters (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,” continued Shay.

Much talk has surfaced in the last few years over the number of young adults who shop on Thanksgiving, and this year millennials are indicating they are once again anxious to take advantage of what retailers have to offer. According to the survey nearly eight in 10 (79.6%) 18-24 year olds will or may shop over the weekend, the highest of any age group. Specifically, nearly one-quarter (22.6%) will shop on Thanksgiving Day, down slightly from 27.8 percent last year and 79.9 percent will shop on Black Friday, up from 71.5 percent who planned to do so last year. Nearly three-quarters (73.2%) of 18-24 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.”

NRF Black Friday Spending Results and Weekend Contact Information
NRF will release the results of its Thanksgiving weekend survey by 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 30 and will hold a special media briefing with President and CEO Matthew Shay the same day at 2 p.m. ET. Information will include what time people started shopping on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, how much they spent, how many people say they shopped for Small Business Saturday and the percentage spent online in total over the weekend. NRF will also release information about the number of people who plan to shop online on Cyber Monday.

NRF offices will be closed Friday, November 28, but members of the communications department will be available from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the office line. To request a print or broadcast interview with a NRF spokesperson at any time, please use the below contact information:

Treacy Reynolds (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) or or

About the Survey
The NRF 2014 holiday spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,593 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics from November 3-10, 2014. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.

* Preliminary research is not comparable to weekend results released the Sunday after the weekend.

Kathy Grannis

Treacy Reynolds
(202) 783-7971
(855) NRF-Press

Download complete survey results
View sample charts in Retail Insight Center


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