Consumers spent $5.6 billion on Thanksgiving Day — but not on turkey

By admin Nov24,2023

Americans cracked open their wallet in a big way on Thanksgiving, spending $5.6 billion on things like clothes, electronics, jewelry and toys. That’s a 5.5% increase from how much shoppers spent on turkey day last year.

Most of the shopping frenzy — about $3.3 billion worth — happened online with consumers using smartphones and tablets to make purchases late Thursday night, according to data from Adobe. 

“Shoppers took to their smartphones to get the best deals during holiday gatherings, further solidifying mobile’s growing importance in e-commerce.” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement Friday. 

Among toy purchases, many consumers flocked to Barbie dolls, Disney Little People, Marvel-branded superhero action figures, stuffed animals and Uno Show No Mercy, Adobe said. The hottest video games purchased included Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, Hogwarts Legacy, Mortal Kombat 1, Super Mario Bros. Wonder and Super Mario RPG. Americans also bought Bluetooth speakers, holiday decor, robot vacuums, tablets and workout gear, according to Adobe.

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Fewer shoppers used curbside pickup on Thanksgiving while more people turned to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options, according to Adobe. BNPL accounted for about $390 million in online shopping on Thanksgiving, up from 7.5% a year ago. That figure is expected to reach $782 million on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

The Thanksgiving spend syncs with what retail experts expect to be a record-high shopping season this year. Americans will spend between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion during the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s season, up at least 3% from last year, according to an estimate from the National Retail Federation. Between $273.7 billion and $278.8 billion of that spending is expected to come from online purchases, the federation said. 

Americans have been dealing with higher-than-normal inflation throughout 2023, but are now faced with shopping for gifts for the holidays. In response, retailers this year started their holiday sales offers earlier to help shoppers spread out their spending. While many shoppers say they are tempted to spend impulsively during the holiday season, experts warn that impulsive gift-buying can lead to overspending.

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