The National Retail Federation (NRF) anticipates that an estimated 182 million people are planning to shop in-store and online from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, according to a prospective shopper survey released last week.

That number is noted as being 15 million more people than 2022 and is reportedly the highest estimate since NRF began tracking this data in 2017.

The survey, conducted in the period of November 1 through November 6, reportedly polled 8,424 adult consumers about their holiday shopping plans and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

In a prior Supply Chain Matters commentary, we highlighted the NRF’s announced updated forecast that called for a range of between 3 percent and 4 percent increase in holiday period spending over 2022 levels. That equated to a range of between $957 billion to nearly $967 billion. A prior record established in 2022 was $929.5 billion for the two-month period.

According to this latest shopper sentiment survey, three-quarters (74 percent) of holiday shoppers plan to shop during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year. This is up from 69 percent pre-pandemic, in 2019. The top indicated reasons consumers plan to shop during this period are either because the deals are too good to pass up (61 percent) or because of tradition (28 percent).

Interesting enough, the traditional Black Friday promotional shopping holiday continues to be the most popular day to shop, with reportedly 72 percent (130.7 million) planning to shop, up from 69 percent in 2022. Cyber Monday is indicated as the second most popular day, attracting 39 percent (71.1 million) of those planning to shop over the weekend, on par with 38 percent last year.

The highlighted survey further indicates that similar to the past few years, as of early November, 59 percent of holiday shoppers have started browsing and buying for the holiday season as they work to get a head start on their shopping. On average, this survey estimates that holiday shoppers have completed one-quarter (25 percent) of their planned purchases.

Added Perspectives

As always, what actually transpires over the coming seven days is the result of the planning, inventory deployment and customer fulfillment logistics plan that retailer integrated business planning and logistics services providers must now put into action.

The early shoppers have assessed those early Black Friday promotions and will be keen to ascertain if added promotions trigger their gift buying intentions.

If this latest NRF forecast of the most prospective holiday shoppers since 2017 flocking online retail platforms and physical stores does occur, supply chain planning and customer fulfilment teams will be again put to the test since up to now, indications were of no pre-holiday inventory surge, and that promoting existing inventory levels would be the predominate strategy.

Stay tuned since this next phase could well prove to be telling.


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