Fewer customers plan to trek out to browse the sales on Thanksgiving this year, although millions of Americans will still shop over the Black Friday weekend, a study says.
More than 61% of consumers say they plan to shop either online or in brick-and-mortar stores over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. But of those shoppers, only 18.3% plan to hit the sales on Thanksgiving Day, down from 23.5% last year.
That may not bode well for retailers who have inched their Black Friday opening times even earlier into Thanksgiving to get a jump on the competition. Retailers can earn 40% of their annual sales during the last few months of the year. Toys R Us, JCPenney and Best Buy are opening at 5 p.m. that Thursday.
More than 95-million consumers will shop on Black Friday, which has traditionally been the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. About 60 million will go shopping on Saturday, and 30 million plan to do so on Sunday, the survey said.
The blockbuster Black Friday deals are a big draw, especially for young millennials. Nearly 80% of those ages 18 to 24 years old will hit the shops either online or off line over the Thanksgiving weekend.
"For younger shoppers, shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is as much a social experience as it is a buying mission," said Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst at Prosper Insights & Analytics, which conducted the survey for NRF.