This figure reflects an increase of 15.7 million shoppers compared to the previous year, marking the highest estimate since NRF commenced tracking this data in 2017.

The survey, conducted from 1-6 November, gathered insights from 8,424 adult consumers revealing that 74% of US holiday shoppers intend to participate in the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend shopping this year—an increase from 69% pre-pandemic in 2019. The allure of irresistible deals (61%) and the deeply ingrained tradition (28%) are identified as the primary motivators driving consumers to engage in holiday shopping during this period.

The NRF president and CEO, Matthew Shay said: “The Thanksgiving holiday weekend marks some of the busiest shopping days of the year… retailers have been preparing for months for this occasion.

“They are stocked and ready to help customers find the gifts and other items they want at great prices during the entire holiday season.”

Notably, Black Friday remains the pinnacle of shopping fervour, with 72% (130.7 million) of shoppers planning to seize the deals—an increase from 69% recorded in 2022.

Following closely, Cyber Monday emerges as the second most popular shopping day, attracting 39% (71.1 million) of those gearing up for the weekend spree—on par with the figures from the previous year.

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The survey further unveils a trend of early holiday shopping, with 59% of respondents having commenced browsing and purchasing by early November. On average, holiday shoppers have already completed a substantial 25% of their planned purchases.

Gift shopping takes the top spot as nearly half (48%) of holiday shoppers have already secured gifts, with an additional 18% investing in decorations, and 17% treating themselves to personal gifts.

Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics, highlighted the influence of early promotions and said that more than 40% of shoppers have capitalised on retailers’ October sales to specifically shop for holiday gifts, décor, and other seasonal items.

Despite this early shopping trend, the five-day shopping bonanza spanning from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday is expected to be among the busiest shopping periods of the year.

Earlier this month, NRF forecasted “record-breaking” holiday spending, estimating a growth rate between 3% and 4%, with total expenditures ranging from $957.3bn to $966.6bn.

In comparison, last year’s holiday sales reached $929.5bn. This year’s projected spending aligns with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6% recorded between 2010 and 2019.

The latest Global Port Tracker report, jointly released by the NRF and Hackett Associates, explained that inbound cargo volume at major container ports in the US is expected to decelerate as the holiday season approaches.