Social Media Helps Increase Young Adult Turnout During Thanksgiving Weekend Sales

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More than 165 million people participated in the holiday sales in the five-day period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. Online retailers saw huge wins, including multichannel shopping increasing 40% from last year and young adults reporting that they are more likely to spend more this holiday than previous years.

The National Retail Federation reports on the retail activity over the holiday season every year, and they predict that this holiday season, consumers will spend $717.5 to $720.89 billion, which is about a 4.3% to 4.8% increase.

President and CEO of NRF, Matthew Shay, said “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year.” Though he expresses some concerns about the trade war, he is “optimistic that the pace of economic activity will continue to increase through the end of the year.”

Consumers purchased many of their gifts online this past Thanksgiving Weekend. NRF reports that 25% of shoppers only purchased their gifts online and 54% of shoppers purchased gifts both online and in-store, which puts multichannel shopping up 40% more than last year.

Over the course of the five-day period, Cyber Monday was the most popular day to shop online, with Black Friday trailing close behind. On Cyber Monday, 67.4 million shoppers participated in the sales and on Black Friday, 65.2 million people shopped online. Small Business Saturday, the Saturday that followed Black Friday, had 47.4 million online shoppers.

Mobile devices and social media played a big role in this year’s Thanksgiving weekend sales. Sixty-six percent of all shoppers used a mobile device to make holiday purchase decisions this Thanksgiving weekend, and 88% of consumers from ages 18 to 24 used a mobile device to make decisions on holiday purchases. Eighty-seven percent of people from ages 25 to 34 also used their phones make holiday purchase decisions.

Both millennials and Gen Z customers on average used social media platforms to look for information about Thanksgiving weekend sales and promotions more than any other generations. Seventeen percent of all shoppers used Facebook to find deals, while 27% of young adults from ages 18 to 24 and 28% of adults ages 25 to 34 used the social media giant. On Instagram, 21% of young adults and 17% of millennials, ages 25-34, used the platform to scope out deals, while only nine percent of all shoppers used the site.

“Americans continue to engage in holiday traditions like spending time with family and friends, exchanging gifts and cooking a special meal,” said Phil Rist, Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy. “But today those traditions include going online to research products and compare prices to make informed purchasing decisions.”

One more statistic to note is the high number of young people who plan to spend more this holiday season than they previously had before. Of young adults from ages 18 to 24, 43% of them said they plan to spend more this year, and 38% of adults from 25 to 34 said they would spend more. Compared to all shoppers, 23% of who said they plan to spend more over the holiday months, both Gen Z and millennials collectively outspend other generations.

“This holiday season retailers will experience the growing purchasing power of Gen Z and millennials,” Shay said. “Whether they are still in college or raising children, these consumer groups embrace the tradition of prior generations and take full advantage of Thanksgiving weekend deals both online and in stores.”

Though the Thanksgiving weekend sales outperformed the NRF’s expectations, a total of 56% consumers still have to complete their holiday shopping over the next few weeks, and are likely to meet the NRF’s overall predications for the holiday season.

Photo Credit: Stan Honda /AFP/Getty Images

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