NRF Data Shows Thanksgiving Weekend is Primed to Be a Historic One

The Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend is already the biggest retail shopping weekend of the year. But the latest series of research from the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that the 2017 edition of this holiday shopping extravaganza is shaping up to be a rather historic one.

For starters, according to NRF more than 164 million consumers plan to shop at some point over the weekend—which, for the first time in NRF’s annual pre Black Friday survey, is gauged as any time between Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

“This year, we updated our survey to more accurately capture consumer behavior throughout the entire shopping weekend—Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Consumers will benefit from competitive promotions both in stores and online lasting the course of the weekend, allowing them to find the best gifts at the lowest prices.”

Of those who said they plan to shop, 20 percent (32 million) said they would go out on Thanksgiving night. The busiest day, according to NRF, will be Black Friday with 70 percent (115 million) of those surveyed saying they’d be out and about the day after Thanksgiving. (That runs in stark contrast to a pre-Black Friday report from the Consumer Technology Association in which consumers identified Black Friday as the least likely time they’ll shop for electronics.) Another 43 percent (71 million) of consumers said they plan to shop on Saturday with 76 percent of those saying they’d do so specifically to support Small Business Saturday. Another 21 percent (35 million) said they’d shop on Sunday, and 48 percent (78 million) said they’d go online for Cyber Monday deals.

As for the “why” question, NRF found that 66 percent said they would go out during the weekend in search of deals and promotions, while 26 percent said they go out because of the tradition, and another 23 percent said it’s just because it gives them something to do over the weekend. When asked what they enjoy most about shopping during the holidays, 35 percent said it was the family tradition, 23 percent said it was seeing the holiday displays and decorations, and another 18 percent said it was finding that perfect gift for someone.

Riding High into Black Friday

Another recent report from NRF provided more hard evidence that retailers should feel confident heading into this crucial time of year. According to the association’s monthly retail sales report, October saw a 0.1 percent increase in sales over September—a modest figure—but a 4.3 percent year-over-year increase.

“There was broad strength across most sectors, and households clearly have the wherewithal to spend going into the holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “The uplift in October payroll and income has generated a healthy pace of retail spending and household debt burdens are historically low. Congressional action on tax reform should help boost confidence, but it is important that lawmakers keep up their momentum and not let details of the legislation get in the way of achieving such a long-sought goal.”

Specific to the electronics and appliance stores segment, NRF reported that sales were up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted over September, and up 2.1 percent year-over-year.

Dealerscope’s own CE Retail Confidence Index supports the narrative, having seen strong growth over the past two months as the holiday shopping season drew closer.

Rob Stott