Thanksgiving Weekend Sales Strong, but Not as Strong as 2017

The retail numbers are out on the 2018 Thanksgiving weekend—and though they’re strong, they fell short of the high benchmarks set in 2017, both in actual sales and shopper turnout.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that in the five days starting on Thanksgiving and running through Cyber Monday, more than 165 million Americans shopped either in-store, online, or both. In 2017, that number was 174 million. Additionally, the NRF estimates there were 67 million shoppers in stores on Black Friday, compared to 77 million in 2017.

The total per-shopper spend was also slightly down: The average shopper spent $313.29 over the five-day period, down from $335.47 during the same period last year. (Not surprisingly, the multichannel shopper outspent the single-channel shopper by $93 on average.)

Apparel was the most popular purchase (57 percent of those surveyed bought it), followed by toys (34 percent), books and video games (29 percent), electronics (26 percent), and gift cards (20 percent). Jewelry sales weren’t broken out in the study.

Cyber Monday was the most popular day of the five to shop online: 67.4 million shoppers purchased products digitally that day. But Black Friday was close behind, with 65.2 million shoppers purchasing at least one thing online.

The most popular brick-and-mortar shopping day was Black Friday, which saw 67 million shoppers head to the stores, followed by Small Business Saturday, which saw 47.4 million shoppers.

Sixty-nine percent of the total spent over the five days was on gifts. And older millennials and Gen Xers (35–44-year-olds) dropped the most cash, on average $413.05.

Gen Zers and younger millennials (18–24-year-olds) did the most self-purchasing—shelling out an average of $149 on holiday purchases for themselves.

NRF’s holiday forecast, which was released last month, estimates a 4.8 percent increase in holiday spending over the months of November and December, compared to 2017. The organization stated this week that it holds steady on that estimate.

(Photo: Getty Images)

JCK Magazine Editor