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A Guide to 2017's Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Trends

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Black Friday deals can’t come soon enough for many U.S. consumers as the holiday shopping extravaganza continues to grow in popularity. With that said, one day before Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at some consumer spending predictions for this holiday season before the money really starts to flow.

Black Friday’s prominence continues to rise. Today, the phrase is associated almost exclusively with long lines and discounts as retail giants such as Macy’s (M - Free Report) , Target (TGT - Free Report) , and Walmart (WMT - Free Report) promote day after Thanksgiving deals (also read: A Complete History of 'Black Friday').

Black Friday, and the current holiday shopping stretch we are in, help boost retailers heavily. In fact, since 2007, retail is the top U.S. equities sector during the week before and after Black Friday, according to a CNBC analysis.

But this year, according to the Rakuten Marketing holiday shopping survey, 24% of consumers started their holiday shopping over the summer. July’s Amazon Prime Day (AMZN - Free Report) spurred some of this early spending, with 47% of those surveyed by Rakuten reportedly shopping on that day. On top of that, 59% of respondents noted that they started their holiday spending in early fall.

In 2017, 75% of consumers noted that they plan to spend the same amount of money or more on their holiday shopping compared to last year. In terms of spending, 43% of Rakuten respondents said they will spend between $100 - $499, while 18% noted they could buy between $1,000 and $1,999 worth of retail goods.

Thanksgiving Shopping Details

Before we jump into the specific shopping numbers, as a little aside to share with friends and family, the average U.S. family spends roughly $31 a year on Turkey.

An estimated 164 million people plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend this year, based on a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Based on the NRF survey, Black Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the now-four day shopping barrage, with 70%, or 115 million, shoppers planning to shop the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Coming in second is the quickly growing online shopping holiday, Cyber Monday. This year, 78 million people— or 48% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers—plan to sit at their computers or scroll through their phones to make online purchases.

Coming in third is Small Business Saturday, when an estimated 71 million Americans hope to shop—although they are not all set on helping stimulate small businesses specifically. And what might come as a surprise to some is the fact that 32 million people are prepared to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

To help explain the motivation behind the 164 million people that expect to shop this holiday weekend, NRF asked respondents to clarify why they plan to shop.

Taking advantage of the deals that many stores offer was the number one reason, with 66% of people citing discounts as their primary motivation. On top of that, 26% of people noted that shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday has simply become a tradition.

Last year, based on NRF data, 154 million people shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which was up from 151 million in 2015. The average shopper spent $289.19 total, which fell by about $10 from the previous year.

In terms of raw money spent for the entire November through December holiday shopping season, consumers are expected to shell out between $678.75 billion and $682 billion on retail purchases—which excludes cars, gas, and restaurants purchases. This would mark a roughly 4% increase from 2016’s two-month holiday shopping season. However, it should be noted that this annual survey included Cyber Monday for the first time this year.

For some recent historical perspective, consumers were estimated to have spent $416.4 billion in 2002. Holiday spending is set to surge nearly 29% from 2010, when shoppers were projected to have made $528.8 billion worth of retail purchases.

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