Shoppers Turn to E-commerce For Holiday Needs

consumer, retail, Online shopping, shoppers

Despite a record number of Americans utilizing e-commerce to take care of their holiday shopping needs, the total number of shoppers in stores and online was down from 2019.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), an estimated 186.4 million consumers shopped in some form during Thanksgiving weekend. That figure was down slightly from the 189.6 million consumers who shopped during the holiday weekend the prior year.

Black Friday and Saturday saw significant growth in online activity and for the first time, the number of shoppers on Black Friday topped the 100 million mark. Figures for the Saturday after Thanksgiving were up 17% year-over-year and online-only shoppers for the entire weekend totaled 95.7 million, an increase of 44%.


“As expected, consumers have embraced an earlier start to the holiday shopping season, but many were also prepared to embrace a long-standing tradition of turning out online and in stores over Thanksgiving weekend to make gift purchases for family and friends,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO.

As expected, in-store shopping was down given both the state of the pandemic as well as the number of retailers who opted to close on Thanksgiving Day. With consumer traffic moving to online channels, the number of in-store shoppers on Thanksgiving Day dropped by 55% from last year and dropped 37% on Black Friday. 

Over the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, shoppers spent an average of $311.75 on holiday-related purchases, down from 2019’s total of $361.90. Of that amount, nearly three-quarters ($224.48) was spent directly on gifts.

Although consumers have embraced the earlier start to the holiday shopping season, the shopping is not yet done. Holiday shoppers have about half of their shopping left to do and 91% expect they will continue to see great deals throughout the rest of the season.