American shoppers increased their spending by 16% over the five-day shopping period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, according to new data, signaling U.S. consumer confidence hasn’t wavered in the face of global political and economic uncertainty.
Nearly 190 million shoppers made purchases during the period, a 14% increase over the previous year, and more shopped online than in stores, data from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics show.
National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said the shopping habits of consumers of all ages have converged. “We saw older consumers actively engaged in research and purchasing online,” he said.
The National Retail Federation survey found 124 million people shopped in stores while about 142 million shopped online. Black Friday drew more online shoppers than Cyber Monday for the first time.
The Washington, D.C.-based trade association, which represents retailers including Walmart, Amazon and Macy’s, said earlier that half of the consumers who planned to shop during the holidays started ahead of Thanksgiving, making almost a quarter of their expected purchases before the holiday. Due to a late Thanksgiving, there are six fewer days in the holiday shopping season.
The National Retail Federation has forecast retail sales would rise in a range of 3.8% to 4.2% — to about $730 billion — for the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. Shoppers spent an average of $362 on holiday items during the five-day period that ended Monday, compared with $313 a year ago.
The National Retail Federation’s figures cover sales online and in stores. They exclude auto, gasoline and restaurant sales.
Individual consumers are expected to spend about $1,000 on average for the holidays, according to a survey the trade group released in October. While some economists expect spending to slow next year, they see few signs that shoppers are overextended the way they were heading into the last recession.