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Thanksgiving traffic up at malls, shopping centers

November 25, 2018

It has been a busy weekend for stores, malls and shopping centers, with 88 percent of U.S. adults buying merchandise from physical retailers — either directly in-store or from store websites — on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

During the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, some 60 percent of adults — 151.2 million people — visited a mall or a shopping center, according to ICSC Research. Nearly 96 million did so on Thanksgiving Day itself (up from 91 million last year), and almost 111 million went to a mall or shopping center on Black Friday (up from 106 million a year ago).

The most popular retailers were discount department stores, such as Walmart and Target, which saw visits from 62 percent of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers. Thirty-four percent of shoppers visited traditional department stores, 23 percent went to a supermarket and/or a wholesale club, 22 percent visited an electronics store and 18 percent patronized a dollar store.

Adults were on track to spend a total of $412.70 each between Thanksgiving Day and end-of-day Sunday, according to ICSC Research. Nearly half of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers said they spent more this year than last year.

Specifically, 71 percent of Thursday/Friday shoppers patronized a store, while 42 percent shopped from a physical retailer's website. Roughly 27 percent went the click-and-collect route — by which they pay for merchandise online and then pick up the items in a store. Some 64 percent of these click-and-collect shoppers made additional purchases at that store, at an adjacent establishment or at another unit within the same shopping center when they went to pick up the merchandise they had ordered online.

On Thursday/Friday, consumers spent $93.60 each, on average, on holiday gifts. They spent $19.20 each on other holiday items, such as decorations, greeting cards and wrapping paper, and they spent $62.70 each on nonholiday merchandise. They also spent $23.80 each on dining, $11.70 on entertainment and $11.70 on personal services.

The biggest spenders over the four-day weekend were Millennials (those roughly between the ages of 20 and 37), who spent $547 each, on average; Gen X-ers (ages 38–53) spent $488 each, meanwhile, and boomers (54–72) spent $259 each.

“Black Friday kicked the holiday shopping season into high gear, driven by positive consumer sentiment and great deals from retailers,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. “More shoppers visited their local mall or shopping center this year than last year, proving again that this holiday season is going to be strong, and that consumers want to spend money on gifts for family and friends.”

The post-Thanksgiving survey of 1,007 adults was conducted Nov. 24.

By Edmund Mander

Director, Editor-In-Chief/SCT

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