Retailers brace for around 166 million holiday shoppers

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects 166 million shoppers to make purchases between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber ​​Monday, nearly 8 million more than expected last year and l highest estimate since 2017, when the group started tracking statistics.

NRF expects vacation sales to total between $942.6 billion and $960.3 billion, up about 7% from a year ago. Last year’s holiday sales rose 13.5% from 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion, breaking previous records. Holiday retail sales have grown an average of 4.9% over the past 10 years, with pandemic-related spending in recent years representing sizable gains.

Wells Fargo economists said inflation is fueling the retail growth figure and overall sales are expected to rise about 2.5% when inflation is taken into account.

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

NRF estimates that 69% of American consumers will be shopping this Thanksgiving weekend. Of those shoppers, 59% said the main reason they would go out was to find a bargain, 27% said it was tradition, and 22% said they liked going out to do something during the long weekend.

Retailers have already offered pre-Black Friday deals to shoppers trying to entice customers in stores and online to shop for gifts. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said recently that stores are well stocked with the best holiday gift items at good values ​​as more consumers try to stretch their holiday budgets.

Walmart and other retailers also continue to battle overstock this holiday, a somewhat stark change from last year when supply chain issues caused stockouts.

The NRF expects Black Friday to be a big day for retailers with 114.9 million consumers expected to shop in stores and online. The survey found 69% said they would visit stores, up from 64% last year. Similar to 2020 and 2021, 60% of holiday shoppers this year started browsing and buying for the season as early as early November. The consumption trend of prior purchases has been accelerated by the pandemic. In 2019, 56% of holiday shoppers started shopping around this time, according to NRF.

“As consumers continue to save the bulk of their holiday shopping for later in November and December, some of that spending has shifted into October,” said Phil Rist, head of consumer strategy at ProsperInsights. “This year, 18% of holiday shoppers made at least half of their holiday shopping. Although this figure is comparable to last year, it was only 11% ten years ago. »

NRF also reports that 43% of survey respondents said online research is the most popular source of inspiration for gifts, followed by 35% who look to family and friends. The top five categories of gifts that consumers consider giving are clothing at 55%, gift cards at 45%, toys at 37%, books/music/movies/video games at 33%, and food/ sweets at 31%, according to the NRF survey. .

Total spending on gift cards is expected to reach $28.6 billion, up from $28.1 billion in 2021. Similar to last year, holiday shoppers plan to buy between three and four gift cards and spend on average $51.47 per card ($165.87 per person). The most popular gift cards include 27% who prefer restaurant cards, 26% who choose department stores, 25% prefer bank-issued gift cards, and 10% plan to purchase a service gift card from food delivery like DoorDash or UberEats.

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