Did you do some holiday shopping last weekend? Most of America did, according to statistics just released by the NRF (National Retail Federation) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. About 186.4 million consumers starting shopping (both online and in-store) on Thanksgiving and kept on going through Cyber Monday.

These numbers are slightly down from 2019’s 189.6 million Thanksgiving weekend shoppers, but higher than 2018’s 165.8 million shoppers. Online shopping, to no one’s surprise, led the way. Over 100 million Americans shopped online on Black Friday, an all-time high, which was up 8% from 2019. Small Business Saturday saw a 17% increase in online shoppers. For the entire holiday weekend, online-only shopping was up 44% to 95.7 million shoppers. And, according to Adobe Analytics, shoppers “spent a record $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-store shopping was down 55% on Thanksgiving Day (many retailers opted to not open that day) and down 37% on Black Friday. This, despite 70% of consumers saying, in an earlier NRF survey, that they felt safe shopping in stores due to the precautions retailers had taken for the coronavirus.

NRF president & CEO Matthew Shay was not surprised at the successful official kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Shay says, “Retailers have been planning for the season by ensuring their stores are safe, their associates are trained, the inventory is stocked, and the online experience is seamless.”

Many (52%) consumers say they started shopping early this year, enticed by early holiday sales and promotions. But they’re not done—NRF says holiday shoppers still have about half their shopping left to do—and 91% expect great deals to get them to buy.

On average consumers spent $311.75 on holiday-related purchases, with most ($224.48) going for gifts. They mostly bought clothes (52%), toys (32%), books/music/movies/video games (29%), gift cards/certificates (29%) and electronics (27%).

Some interesting items of note:

  • Because so many people will be staying at home for the holidays, the NRF reports they’re more interested in buying holiday decorations and seasonal items
  • 77% of shoppers want to support small and local retailers

Consumers go online to find information about a retailer before they shop

  • Online shoppers want
  • Free shipping
  • Easy-to-use websites, with customer reviews posted
  • Deal & promotions

Looking ahead Shay thinks next year Black Friday in-store shopping will be “huge” with consumers eager to go out, socialize and shop.

As the NRF reported, shipping is top-of-mind for consumers. They expect it to be free—and fast. To help small businesses deliver their goods quickly, Pitney Bowes Inc. just launched Pitney Bowes Same-Day Delivery through its cloud-based SendPro® Online sending platform. The new service provides access “to a curated network of Pitney Bowes service providers, through a single shipping platform.” The company says, now, SMBs “can offer outstanding service levels and meet increasingly high shipping expectations.”

To access Pitney Bowes Same-Day Delivery, users simply enter their shipment details and SendPro Online matches the user’s shipment with the most cost-effective option whenever possible, providing dependable delivery with an average two-hour door-to-door delivery window. Senders can compare overnight and other same-day services from Pitney Bowes service providers and select the service which best meets their requirements. Packages that qualify for Same-Day Delivery: parcels or packages weighing up to 50 pounds, up to $500 in value to be delivered in a radius of up to 50 miles.

You can read more about the holiday season at the NRF Winter Holiday Headquarters and Adobe’s 2020 Holiday Shopping Trends.

Shopping safe stock photo by MIA Studio/Shutterstock