For the first time since 2002, Thanksgiving this year falls as late as the calendar possibly allows it to, but eager holiday shoppers are already mapping their shopping strategies for the big weekend.
According to a preliminary Thanksgiving weekend shopping survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), up to 140 million people plan to or will shop over the weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a slight decrease from the 147 million who planned to do so last year.
For the first time, NRF asked if people plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day. Of those surveyed, nearly one-quarter (roughly 33 million consumers), said that they will be shopping on Thanksgiving either online or in-store.
"Though many people have already started to check off items from their holiday shopping lists, we fully expect to see many more come out on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend to take in the festive sights and sounds – and to take advantage of unbeatable deals," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "As the official kick off to the holiday season, retailers are prepared to pull out all the stops for their online and store shoppers, including offering sweepstakes with cash prizes, free gifts with purchase and even exclusive opportunities to score top gift items before everyone else."
According to the survey, Black Friday will be the biggest day of the weekend: 69.1 percent plan to shop on Black Friday, or approximately 97 million shoppers. Additionally 43.8 percent will shop on Saturday (61 million) and 24.2 percent will shop on Sunday (34 million). And, of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, seven in 10 (69.2%) say they shopped online and in stores on Thanksgiving in 2012.
When it comes to the many ways that savvy shoppers plan to keep up with retailers' holiday promotions, the classic advertising circular wins again: half (49.1%) will scour newspapers for information about upcoming sales events. However, many people are still very much tuned into retailers' digital news: 33.5 percent will look for special emails from retailers, 27.0 percent will follow retailers' websites and 21.9 percent will scour coupon websites to look for deals.