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NPD: Retailers Should Think Twice About Closing on Thanksgiving

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Multi channel holiday shopping data

Time spent eating turkey has given way to shopping for deals, and with more shoppers planning to spend on Thanksgiving Day this year than last, retailers may want to give closing stores that Thursday a second thought.

According to The NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking receipt mining service, Thanksgiving Day was the second biggest shopping day of 2015, based on the average amount spent per shopper, beat only by Black Friday.

The number of shoppers in stores may have been 26 percent less on Thanksgiving Day than on the Saturday before Christmas, but the dollars doled out still came out ahead.

“Though there are several retailers making decisions to close on Thanksgiving Day, enough consumers have demonstrated that they will shop on the holiday to make it worthwhile for most major retailers to open and capture those sales,” NPD Group chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen said. “The value of getting a deal will always be a draw for a large segment of consumers. Now, retailers need to figure out how to get the attention of those shoppers, whether it is through timing of promotion, expanded store hours, or online flexibility and convenience.”

More than one in six holiday shoppers said they will wait until Black Friday to start gift buying. Sixty-two percent said the driving factor in determining where they’ll spend their cash is a special sale price, while 58 percent said overall value for the price would do it.

The driving factor that has seen the most growth over last year, however, is free shipping. Fifty-two percent of shoppers said offers for shipping savings would influence where they do their holiday shopping, up from 44 percent in 2014. Thirty percent of shoppers also said they plan to buy all of their holiday gifts on sale this season.

“The data shows that holiday shoppers will go to one or two, maximum three stores on these big promotional shopping days. Retailers who want to connect with their customers and capture those sales will want to open on Thanksgiving, even for limited hours,” Andy Mantis, executive vice president of Checkout Tracking at NPD Group, added. “This dilemma over whether or not to be open on Thanksgiving Thursday didn’t exist until recently. But now that it’s here, retailers have no choice but to figure out how to play in this space. With more than 25 percent of Black Friday two-day spend going into Thanksgiving, if you’re not in it, you risk losing customers and traffic.”

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