By  on November 15, 2013

The holiday shopping turnout for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the following weekend will be close to or slightly below last year’s, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

NRF sees up to 140 million people shopping the four-day period, a slight decrease from the 147 million who said they would last year.

The slight difference is due to consumers getting a very early jump on holiday spending. “Though many people have already started to check off items from their holiday shopping lists, we fully expect to see many more come out on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend to take in the festive sights and sounds — and to take advantage of unbeatable deals,” said NRF president and chief executive officer Matthew Shay. “As the official kickoff to the holiday season, retailers are prepared to pull out all the stops for their online and store shoppers, including offering sweepstakes with cash prizes, free gifts-with-purchase and even exclusive opportunities to score top gift items before everyone else.”

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Of those planning to shop Thanksgiving weekend, 23.5 percent, or 33 million people, plan to hit the stores on Thanksgiving Day. According to the findings, Black Friday will be the biggest day of the weekend, when 69.1 percent, or about 97 million shoppers, plan to shop. Additionally, 43.8 percent, or 61 million people, will shop the Saturday after Black Friday, and 24.2 percent, or 34 million, will shop on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

The survey polled 6,201 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics from Nov. 1 to 7. Of those intending to shop Thanksgiving Day this year, 69.2 percent said they shopped online and in stores last Thanksgiving.

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In other findings, consumers will seek holiday promotions principally through classic advertising circulars, with 49.1 percent of those surveyed saying they will scour newspapers for sales.

Also, 33.5 percent of those surveyed said they will look for e-mails from retailers; 27 percent will follow retailers’ Web sites, and 21.9 percent will scour coupon Web sites for deals.

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