Thanksgiving 2023 sets new record for holiday shopping

If you went shopping anytime during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday), you certainly weren't alone. In fact, a record-making number of shoppers—200.4 million, up from last year's 196.7 million—were out hitting the brick-and-mortar or virtual malls this year.

The National Retail Federation released these and other holiday shopping numbers today. Here are some other highlights:

121.4 million shoppers visited physical retail locations, down slightly from 122.7 million in 2022.

134.2 million people shopped online, up from 130.2 million in 2022.

The peak day for shopping was Black Friday—76.2 million shopped in physical stores, up from 2022's 72.9 million, and 90.6 million consumers shopped online (up from 87.2 million in 2022). Online shopping on Black Friday even surpassed "Cyber Monday" numbers—73 million consumers shopped online on Cyber Monday in 2023 (down from 77 million in 2022).

What were folks shopping for? According to the NRF:

The top gifts shoppers purchased during the five-day period were clothing and accessories (bought by 49% of those surveyed), toys (31%), gift cards (25%), books, video games and other media (23%), and personal care or beauty items (23%).

The National Retail Federation defines the holiday season as November 1st through December 31st, and is forecasting that Americans will spend between 3% and 4% more than last year, for a total of between $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion. 

I avoided the malls this year (like I do every year), and instead did some holiday shopping online at some of my favorite small or local retailers. I got a couple of incredible po'boy patent t-shirts from Dirty Coast, this cute "Sittin' on a Rainbow" t-shirt from the John Prine/Oh Boy Records store, this cool Kassandra t-shirt from Potatum, and this helpful 7-fan Luggable HEPA filter/Corsi-Rosenthal box from Clean Air Kits.