Thanksgiving Shopping Trends

The National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey has found that out of all adults surveyed, 58.7% would or might shop during the Thanksgiving weekend and 22.3% said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

A year ago, 60.1% said they would or might shop during Thanksgiving weekend and 18.3% said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving shopping continues to be more popular with younger adults than their older counterparts, according to a survey of 7,172 adults conducted on November 3–10 by Prosper Insights & Analytics. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2%.

Out of the respondents who said they would or might shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, 25.4% of the 18–24-year-olds said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day; so did 32.7% of the 25–34-year-olds and 28.9% of the 35–44-year-olds.

However, 20.2% of the 45–54-years-olds, 17.8% of the 55–64-year-olds and 10.1% of those 65 & older said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

The 2014 survey found that out of respondents who said they would or might shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, 22.6% of the 18–24-year-olds, 27.5% of the 25–34-year-olds and 24.2 of the 35–44-year-olds said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

However, in 2014, 17.4% of the 45–54-year-olds, 11.9% of the 55-64-year-olds and 7.1% of those 65 & older said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Millennials love shopping in stores and online over (the) Thanksgiving weekend for several reasons, including the opportunities afforded to them that allow them to splurge on ‘non-gifts’ for themselves and even the potential to sleep in on Black Friday after having spent the night before bouncing from store to store, said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper’s Principal Analyst.

For these adults, it’s less about making room for pumpkin pie and more about going out with friends, checking out the deals through their mobile phones and experiencing retailers’ night-owl hours and perhaps making a dent in their shopping lists.

Most major retail chains will open at the same time as they did a year ago, except for JCPenney, which will open at 3:00 PM, two hours earlier than last year and five hours earlier than 2013, the first time it was open on Thanksgiving Day.

Chains opening their stores at the same time as last year includes Kmart (6:00 AM), ToysRUs (5:00 PM) and Macy’s, Sears and Target (all 6:00 PM)

Retailers have drawn criticism for being open on Thanksgiving Day because of the disruption it causes in the lives of their employees and for dividing families on a holiday known for bringing them together.

Many stores staff Thanksgiving Day with seasonal employees and those who volunteer to work and pay them time-and-a-half.

In the surveys conducted by Deloitte and the International Council of Shopping Centers, even fewer people said they would shop on Thanksgiving Day. ICSC’s survey found that only 12% be buying holiday gifts on Thanksgiving Day while Deloitte’s survey indicated that 14% plan to shop in stores (24% said they would shop online on the holiday).

Several merchants who were open in the past on Thanksgiving Day will keep their doors closed, a retreat from the rush of years past to lure in customers earlier and earlier every year on the day of family and feasting. Among them are H&M, Staples and TJX-owned stores T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods.


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