Industry / Marketing / Sales

6 Takeaways From The Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping Spree


Plan a party and set up a sale: Shoppers for holiday 2022 want to be in stores, and they’re prepared to buy if the price is right.

That’s one of the major takeaways from the trifecta of retail events known as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, according to jewelry retailers, retail experts, and data analysts, all watching what people were buying Nov. 24–29 with great anticipation.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported Nov. 29 that a record 196.7 million Americans shopped both in stores and online during the five-day holiday buying binge from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. That number is up nearly 17 million from 2021, the Washington, D.C.–based retail trade organization says, and it is the highest figure since the NRF started tracking this data five years ago.

“It is consumer demand that is driving growth,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a media call on Nov. 29.

While consumers are wary of economic turbulence—higher inflation, labor challenges, and a looming rail strike that could disrupt multiple industries—these deal-conscious shoppers still got out and enjoyed some post-turkey retail time, Shay says.

Ronnie Taubenfeld, founder of Ronnie Taubenfeld Jewelry, says she saw consumers over the Thanksgiving weekend look for sentimental or personal purchases within her jewelry business.

“I have noticed my customers purchasing larger pieces with strong geometric elements and splashes of color—in particular, pendants and rings,” Taubenfeld says. “Sterling silver is popular, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces imbued with the artist’s touch. Customers are interested in how pieces are made and learning about the designer, seeking a sense of connection to their jewelry purchases rather than trend-focused purchases.”

Here are six takeaways from the retail news of the weekend that could help retailers, particularly jewelers, through the holiday shopping mania.

1. In-store shopping was key. People still went online, but they wanted the experience of browsing and buying inside a brick-and-mortar location, Shay says. As social creatures, humans want to be out and about, and the pandemic-related shutdowns and slowdowns had many people ready to go into stores now that the swell of cases has decreased.

2. Shoppers still want the perception of a deal. In its consumer survey to get these results, the NRF says its respondents were pleased with the sales, promotions, and price matching they saw across retail channels over the Thanksgiving weekend.

3. On average, shoppers told NRF and its research partner Prosper Insights & Analytics that they were almost halfway done with their shopping at this moment. But that leaves “plenty of room for additional purchases in the remaining weeks of the year,” says Prosper executive vice president of strategy Philip Rist.

4. Payment service Klarna reported its “Black Week” shopping data on Nov. 29 and said that its shopping index found people were buying bridal wedding ring sets—this important category was up 41%, Klarna data said—as well as watches and lockets. So, retailers may want to boost the visibility of these products in store for consumers to consider.

5. Don’t sleep on online shopping. Adobe vice president of growth marketing and insights Patrick Brown told CNBC’s TechCheck that not only did jewelry discounting show results for retailers, but also that consumers are still loving the ease of shopping online, especially through their mobile devices. If you haven’t upgraded these shopping channels, this is time to reevaluate and update them.

Adobe Analytics said U.S. shoppers spent $35.4 billion online over the five-day shopping period. Cyber Monday was the biggest day for that weekend with sales topping a record $11.3 billion, or a 5.3% increase from 2021. Black Friday sales rose 2.3% to $9.12 billion.

6. Keep an eye on the potential Dec. 9 deadline for a U.S. rail strike. “It continues to be an unpredictable year and very different than the last two seasons,” Shay says. This potential “serious headwind” that is the rail strike is one of things that might cause concern among consumers, as well as any company needing goods that are transmitted by rail, Shay says. President Biden has called on the U.S. Congress to help block a strike, which some say could cost the nation $2 billion a day.

The NRF defines the holiday season as the time period between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. The group believes that retail sales will increase between 6% and 8% during this time, or between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.

Top: Independent jeweler Ronnie Taubenfeld hopes to spur holiday sales this season with her one-of-a-kind creations, such as this necklace ($285), known as Abstract No. 1. Retailers are seeing more sales in the early part of the holiday time period: Surveys show most consumers have bought about half of their gifts by now (photo courtesy of Ronnie Taubenfeld).

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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