While most c-stores will be open for shoppers on Thanksgiving Day, many retailers in other channels had to make tough decisions about whether or not to stay open during the holiday. New information from NPD Group may have some reconsidering their decision.
Despite predictions of diluted and weak sales, Thanksgiving Day was the No. 2 ranked in-store shopping day of the year in 2015, based on the average amount spent per shopper on that day, NPD Group reported. It was second only to Black Friday.
A fifth of shoppers plan to do more of their holiday gift shopping online this year than they did last year (The NPD Group, Inc. / October 2016 Omnibus), but based on analysis from NPD’s receipt mining service, Checkout Tracking, there is also strong historical data indicating that there is value in stores keeping their doors open on Thanksgiving Day.
While the number of buyers in stores was less on both Black Friday (44% share of all 2015 buyers) and Thanksgiving (26%) than on the Saturday before Christmas (46%), the two November dates topped the charts in terms of shopping dollars spent.
“Though there are several retailers making the decision to close on Thanksgiving Day, enough consumers have demonstrated that they will shop on the holiday to make it worthwhile for most major retailers to open and capture those sales,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “The value of getting a deal will always be a draw for a large segment of consumers. Now, retailers need to figure out how to get the attention of those shoppers, whether it is through timing of promotion, expanded store hours, or online flexibility and convenience.”
More than one in six holiday shoppers plan to wait until Black Friday sales to begin to their holiday gift shopping, NPD Group reported. Indeed, looking at factors driving where consumers plan to shop this holiday season, according to NPD Group’s Annual Holiday Purchase Intentions Study, special sale price (62%) and overall value for the price (58%) lead the pack, but the strongest upward trajectory goes to free shipping offers—52% say such offers influence where they shop for holiday gifts, up from 44% in 2014. Additionally, three in 10 holiday shoppers in America say they plan to buy all of their holiday gifts on sale this year.
“The data shows that holiday shoppers will go to one or two, maximum three stores on these big promotional shopping days. Retailers who want to connect with their customers and capture those sales will want to open on Thanksgiving, even for limited hours,” added Andy Mantis, executive vice president of Checkout Tracking at NPD Group. “This dilemma over whether or not to be open on Thanksgiving Thursday didn’t exist until recently. But now that it’s here, retailers have no choice but to figure out how to play in this space. With more than 25% of Black Friday two-day spend going into Thanksgiving, if you’re not in it, you risk losing customers and traffic.”