Flocking Back to the Stores: Black Friday Weekend Sees Record Number of Shoppers

This holiday season is shaping up to be a happy one for retailers, with the number of shoppers hitting stores from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday setting a new record.

The National Retail Federation said that 196.7 million people shopped in-person at retailers from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, Nov. 28. That’s the highest this figure has ever been.

Online sales boomed, too. Adobe Analytics reported that online shoppers spent a record $9.12 billion on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. That figure is up from $8.92 billion in 2021 and $9.03 billion in 2020.

These record-setting numbers come despite the threat of rising interest rates and persistent inflation. Why the big numbers? That’s difficult to say, but consumers have continued to spend even as the prices of everything from groceries and gas to electronics, clothing and furniture continue to rise.

Big Day for Online Sales

The Black Friday online sales were particularly impressive. Adobe Analytics said that the online sales of electronics rose 221% on Black Friday when compared to an average day in October of this year. Two of the biggest sellers were Apple MacBooks and Apple watches, according to Adobe. Consumers also spent big on the Xbox Series X gaming console and video games such as FIFA 23 and Pokemon Scarlet.

Adobe predicted that online shoppers would spend an additional $4.52 billion on Saturday and $4.99 billion on Sunday of the holiday weekend. Adobe also predicted that online sales would soar to $11.2 billion on Cyber Monday.

In-person Shopping Strong, Too

The National Retail Federation did not track the amount of money that record-setting number of in-person shoppers spent over the Black Friday weekend. The trade association did say that it expects holiday sales to rise by 6% to 8% from last year. If this happens, consumers will have spent from $942.6 billion to $960.4 billion this holiday season.

Of course, some of the increase in spending must be attributed to high inflation: Consumers are paying more when they are buying holiday items this year.

“The Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend is a tradition treasured by many American families,” said National Retail Federation president and chief executive officer Matthew Shay, in a written statement. “As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible. Retailers have responded accordingly, offering shoppers a season of buying convenience, matching sales and promotions across online and in-store channels to accommodate their customers at each interaction.”

According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday shopping season runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 32. The federation said that consumers spent an average of about $325 on holiday purchases from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Last year, shoppers spent an average of $301.