Nov 22, 2016
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Retailers prepare for Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend

Nov 22, 2016

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is a time of family togetherness and bargain shopping. The weekend that was once a national holiday followed by a day of door busting deals, has now become a five-day, deal-hunting shopping extravaganza. It all starts on Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Sunday, and Cyber Monday.

The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics still expects an estimated 137.4 million Americans to shop despite the decreased shopping excitement

This year, more retailers and companies have gambled on online and opted to close its stores at least one time in November. In 2015, many retailers including H&M and Nordstrom made it a point to announce that they will be closed on Thanksgiving, which resonates well with customers.

A survey from RichRelevance found that shoppers dislike it when retailers are open on Thanksgiving. REI went as far as to close its stores on Black Friday to encourage its employees and customers to enjoy the outdoors. The retailer will do the same this year as well.

Statistics from Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping in 2015 showed that in-store sales were down slightly compared to 2014, but online sales increased in the double digits. Retailers have prepared for increased online traffic. Wal-Mart has increased its online holiday inventory for Black Friday and will launch its Cyber Monday discounts on Black Friday. On the retail side, Macy’s, Target, and Kohl’s kept their holiday season hiring flat with the expectation that online will perform better than physical stores.
The decision to lower expectations is a safe bet with 2015 Black Friday sales failing to outperform 2014 Black Friday sales, and with half of US shoppers choosing to stay away from Black Friday shopping. The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics still expect an estimated 137.4 million Americans to shop despite the decreased shopping excitement.

In addition, more shoppers plan to shop on Cyber Monday compared to 2015. Adobe predicts that Cyber Monday will generate $3.36 billion in sales, and will kick off an extended online holiday shopping season that will make $9.1 billion. Thanksgiving is expected to generate $2 billion and Black Friday sales are expected to be $3.05 billion.
Following the holiday shopping weekend, customers are expected to turn to online for most of their holiday shopping. Some 71% of people surveyed in The NPD Group’s 2016 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey said they plan to do their holiday shopping online and expect to spend an average of $710 this season compared to the average of $440 that store shoppers plan to spend.
NRF will release the results of its Thanksgiving weekend survey November 27, which will include what time people started shopping on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, how many people shopped for Small Business Saturday and the percentage of those shopping online over the weekend. 

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