The ranks of Americans who opted not to shop over Thanksgiving weekend grew by about 7 million this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey.
The number of unique shoppers from Thanksgiving day through Sunday dropped five percent — from 141.1 million in 2013 to 133.7 million this year. And total sales dropped by 11 percent, or $6.5 billion dollars, the Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics says.
“This year is really slow, there’s a big difference from even last year,” a Kmart customer service manager told The New York Times. “It’s never been this slow. We still have all these deals.”
Earlier holiday promotions in stores and the growth of online shopping contributed to the decline, according to the NRF, which is still optimistic about overall holiday shopping. It predict sales in November and December will increase by 4.1 percent this year, to $616.9 billion.
“We remain positive about the future of sales for this holiday season, but it’s a marathon and not a sprint,” the NRF said in a post Monday. “Many consumers are far from finished with their shopping, and retailers are still working hard to earn every sale.”
Stores have been extending sales deeper into the holidays in recent years, and “savvy and sophisticated” consumers may be catching on, the NRF explained. And falling gas prices combined with more jobs might mean consumers have more money and feel less pressure to score bargains.
There’s also the off chance Americans are tiring of the Black Friday craze.
Californian Alissa Sanders isn’t one of them. “There is something about Black Friday; maybe it’s the holiday spirit, but just being here … is an event,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “To be honest, there is nothing here I really need.”
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