Black Friday shoppers

Shopping during Thanksgiving weekend this year will be a bit busier than in 2015.

That’s according to a just-released survey of consumers by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics which found that 59 percent of Americans — an estimated 137.4 million people — are planning or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend. Most retailers are expecting the holiday 2016 season to be better than last year’s holiday season. The NRF has forecast holiday retail sales to rise 3.4 percent this year.

Last year, 135.8 million, or 58.7 percent, of the population came out to shop over Thanksgiving weekend.

NRF’s numbers cover Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and Sunday and take into account in-store and online shopping.

“Black Friday remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with Americans planning to take advantage of aggressive in-store and digital promotions over the entire holiday weekend,” NRF president and chief executive officer Matthew Shay said. “Retailers know consumers are spreading out their holiday budgets to shop throughout the season. While there’s no doubt of the incredible promotions offered during the weekend, the holiday shopping season is long and consumers will look for and expect great deals down to the very last minute.”

The survey found that 21 percent of weekend shoppers plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, nearly the same as last year’s 22 percent. Black Friday will remain the busiest day of the holiday weekend with 74 percent planning to shop that day, the same as in 2015. A substantial 47 percent are expected to shop on Saturday; of those shoppers, 24 percent say they will be doing so specifically to support Small Business Saturday, up from 22 percent last year. On Sunday, 24 percent expect to shop.

According to the survey, 77 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 76 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds plan to shop over the weekend. Also, 86 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 78 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds are expected to shop Black Friday.

“Millennials continue to drive the trend of hitting the stores — both on their feet and online — as soon as the turkey is finished,” Prosper’s principal analyst Pam Goodfellow said, “Whether they’re hoping to find gifts for themselves or for the folks on their lists, they will do their research to find the best deals of the weekend and have allotted a large part of their holiday budget for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday spending.”

“For many Millennials, every Thanksgiving weekend they can remember has involved hopping online to find the best deals,” Goodfellow said. “For this group, it’s more than just a weekend of good deals — it’s a holiday tradition.”

While not included in the 137.4 million total for the Thanksgiving weekend, 36 percent of consumers say they plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, up from the 34 percent in 2015.

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