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Record numbers of consumers shopped Cyber Week.

Jane Neal

December 5, 2022

4 Min Read
Betsie Van Der Meer/Getty Images.

Regardless of whether you’ve started your own shopping yet or not, holiday shopping season has officially begun. The National Retail Federation (NRF) defines the holiday season as Nov. 1-Dec. 31. and in early November, the NRF forecast that retail sales will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. “Cyber Week,” the five-day holiday shopping period that starts on Thanksgiving Day and runs through Cyber Monday is seen by many as the traditional kickoff for their gift shopping. But as

License Global reported last month, some holiday shopping trends, like browsing and buying earlier and earlier, are quickly becoming the new norm.

Still, this year’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend shopping shattered records and expectations alike. For example, according to Adobe Analytics, online spending on Black Friday was up 2.3% year-over-year. And Sensormatic Solutions reports that Black Friday foot traffic rose 2.9% from 2021. Mastercard Spending Pulse reported similar growth for the weekend running Thursday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 27:  

  • Retail sales were up 10.9% year-over-year

  • In-store sales increased 10.5% YOY

  • E-commerce was up 12.5% YOY 

“Thanksgiving weekend retail sales experienced growth online and in-store as deals across channels enticed consumers to shop where and when it was convenient,” says Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard. 

According to the annual survey released by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics, a record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday shopping period. The total number of shoppers grew by nearly 17 million from 2021. If it sounds like a lot, it is; that’s the highest figure since the NRF began tracking this data in 2017.   

According to the survey, more than three-quarters (76%) of consumers say they shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up from 70% in 2021. The numbers shattered NRF’s  initial expectations  by more than 30 million. 

“It is important to note that while some may claim that retail sales gains are the result of higher prices, they must acknowledge the historic growth in consumers who are shopping in-store and online during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend and into Cyber Monday,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “It is consumer demand that is driving growth.” 

Friday Hit the Web Running 

This year it was Black Friday rather than Cyber Monday that was the most popular day for online shopping, according to the NRF. Around 87.2 million consumers shopped online during Black Friday this year, in line with 2021. Cyber Monday, on the other hand, saw similar numbers to last year, with 77 million people shopping online. Mobile shopping saw record growth, especially at the start of the big holiday shopping weekend. According to Adobe, mobile shopping accounted for 55% of online retail sales, an all-time high and an increase of 8.3% year over year. On Black Friday, mobile hit another record, reaching 48% of all online sales compared to 44% in 2021. NRF also clocked high numbers of mobile shoppers, reporting a record 59% of online Cyber Monday shoppers used their mobile device, up from 52% in 2021.  

“The Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend is a tradition treasured by many American families,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible. Retailers have responded accordingly, offering shoppers a season of buying convenience, matching sales and promotions across online and in-store channels to accommodate their customers at each interaction.” 

Shopping Out is Still In 

The tradition of going out early the day after Thanksgiving to snag some amazing deals lives on. Shoppers ventured out in droves, in keeping with the number of consumers increasing their in-store shopping throughout this year. The NRF reported that retailers saw a sizable uptick of in-store holiday shoppers. More than 122.7 million people strolled the aisles over the weekend, up 17% from 2021.  

Black Friday remains the winner when it comes to in-store shopping. The NRF reported that approximately 72.9 million consumers opted for a traditional in-person shopping experience, up from 66.5 million in 2021. Small Business Saturday also saw significant gains, with 63.4 million in-store shoppers, up from 51 million last year. A majority (77%) of those Saturday shoppers noted that they were shopping specifically to support Small Business Saturday.     

Consumers spent an average of $325.44 on holiday-related purchases over the course of the weekend, up from $301.27 in 2021. Of that amount, most ($229.21) was directed specifically toward gifts.   

“While Thanksgiving is no longer the starting point for holiday shopping, the five-day shopping period still plays an important role in the overall holiday season,” says Phil Rist, executive vice president, strategy, Prosper. “On average, consumers say they are almost halfway (47%) done with their holiday shopping at this point in time, leaving plenty of room for additional purchases in the remaining weeks of the year.” 

While early deals and sales did entice some to shop before mid-November, many still save the bulk of their shopping for November and December. More than half (56%) of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before Thanksgiving this year. One-quarter (24%) did so before Nov. 16 and another 36% shopped in the week leading up to Thanksgiving (Nov. 16-23).  

 

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About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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