WASHINGTON – National Retail Federation statistics from the Thanksgiving weekend reveal that 186 million people shopped between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.

That is slightly below last year’s number of 189 million but well above the 166 million that shopped over the same period in 2018.

Shoppers purchasing online-only, increased by almost 45% to 95 million shoppers, while more than 40 million shopped solely in a store, and almost 51 million went across channels in a hybrid of brick-and-mortar and online.

“In my conversations with many CEOs across retail segments, we have consistently seen that consumers have gotten a head start on holiday shopping starting in October,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF.

In October, the NRF launched a consumer program called New Holiday Traditions, to encourage consumers to shop safe and early and prioritize their health and safety. Statistics are showing that 52% of Americans took advantage of those early holiday sales and promotions.

“We wanted to remind them that this is going to be a different kind of holiday season,” Shay said. “So it’s important to get gifts early, avoid crowds and ensure that packages arrive on time.”

Shay said that 15 or 20 years ago it was challenging to get reliable Internet at home, so Cyber Monday was born when people started shopping online from work on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

“But this year, so many people working remotely and our robust Internet connections led to Black Friday topping Cyber Monday as a busy day for shopping,” he added. “We’ve seen impressive growth online for Black Friday. People aren’t doing as much spending in other areas, such as entertainment and travel. So, we’ve seen the dollars flowing back into the home.”

Although shopping started early this year, more than 90% of consumers indicate they will be out looking for promotions throughout the rest of the season.

Based on NRF consumer feedback, 70% of people feel safe in an in-store shopping environment with a substantial majority of American consumers having experience in that environment and expecting social distancing and mask-wearing while shopping in person.

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