75% of Consumers Shopped on Thanksgiving Weekend, Says NRF

Retailers hoping for a sales boost on the Thanksgiving “Black Friday” weekend weren’t disappointed, says a new National Retail Federation (NRF) survey released Dec. 2. The NRF 2002 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey found 75.6% of consumers went shopping on the holiday weekend.

The NRF survey also found that as of Nov. 30, the average consumer had completed 38.7% of his or her shopping. “We attribute this to a combination of factors,” said NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin. “Those include six fewer shopping days [which is pushing consumers to shop early], retailers doing an excellent job of advertising great values for consumers, and an early Hannukah.”

However, only 8.2% of consumers have completed all of their holiday shopping, so, “retailers still have plenty of opportunities to build on their success from ‘Black Friday’ weekend,” says the NRF report.

The top gifts purchased on the holiday weekend were books, CDs, DVDs, videos, or video games (41.0%); clothing or accessories (40.4%); toys (34.6 %); and home décor or home-related furnishings (23.7%). Apparel was the top gift choice for women as 45.3% chose to buy clothing and clothing accessories. Men went in a different direction, with 38.2% purchasing books, CDs, DVDs, videos,or video games.

“Examining how men and women shop during the holiday season usually yields interesting results,” said Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for BIGresearch, the consumer marketing firm that did the NRF survey. “Looking at shopping patterns, we see that consumers are either taking advantage of bargains to purchase items for themselves or, perhaps, they are subconsciously buying items for others that they would like to receive themselves.”

As expected, discount department stores appear to be faring well with the majority of shoppers (49%). Consumers also are recognizing values in other retail formats, with 30.6% shopping at department stores, 33.2% choosing the Internet, 27.2% visiting specialty stores, and 16.0% shopping in catalogues.

NRF is projecting an increase of 4% in overall holiday retail sales this year, bringing estimated revenues of $209.3 billion this holiday season.

The survey of 6,926 consumers was conducted from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1%.

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, with more than 1.4 million U.S. retail members employing more than 20 million people.