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Physical retail dominates Thanksgiving weekend shopping bonanza

December 2, 2019

Consumers gave retailers and landlords much to be thankful for over Thanksgiving weekend: More shoppers visited retail centers this year than last year, and they spent more, according to ICSC research.

Black Friday shoppers wait for the opening of a Best Buy store, in Emeryville, Calif.

No less than 62 percent of the entire adult population in the U.S. (about 157 million) went to retail centers during the four-day holiday that began on Thanksgiving Day itself, up from 60 percent a year ago, according to the Industry Insights report. Consumers reported that they had spent or intended to spend some $504 each, on average, for goods and services over that period, up from $413 a year ago.

“The excitement around shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend remains strong,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “Physical retail continues to be the overwhelming choice of consumers to make their purchases. This weekend was no different and is a great indicator of what is still to come this holiday season.”

Three-quarters of Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday shoppers buying goods spent money in a physical store, and 45 percent purchased goods online from physical retailers. For the fifth year in a row, shoppers buying online from a physical retailer outnumbered those who purchased from such purely online retailers as Amazon.com — 39 percent.

Shoppers at King of Prussia (Pa.) Mall on Thanksgiving night, ahead of Black Friday

Click-and-collect shoppers (those ordering online and collecting merchandise at the store) comprised 29 percent of all Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday shoppers who bought goods. Of these, 70 percent bought additional items when picking up the merchandise.

Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers dominated the holiday when it came to expenditures, too: Their stores and websites drew nearly 80 percent of Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday expenditures for goods. Purely online enterprises attracted only 19 percent of expenditures by comparison, and 15 percent went to Amazon.

Best Buy, Emeryville, Calif.

Cyber Monday promises to be equally kind to the brick-and-mortar sector, with some three-fifths (60 percent) of shoppers saying they intend to spend money at a store, up from the 52 percent who said so a year ago. This rises to 83 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers when those who intend to buy through a physical retailer website are included.

“The Thanksgiving weekend has demonstrated yet again the robust health and importance of physical retail and services,” said Jean Lambert, vice president of ICSC Research. “It has set the stage for a strong shopping season.”

By Edmund Mander

Director, Editor-In-Chief/SCT

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