Fewer People Will Be Flocking to Stores on Thanksgiving Than Ever Before

The people who used to flock to the stores in advance of Black Friday sales now prefer to spend Thanksgiving at home.

According to the National Retail Federation, 29 million American adults went shopping on Thanksgiving Day in 2016, down from 34.6 million in 2015. That compares with 2014, when 43 million adults went out for an early shot at the Black Friday sales of the following day.

Those numbers come amid changing shopping attitudes. Over the last three years, retailers have come under heavy criticism for opening their doors to crowds on Thanksgiving — and now large chains such as H&M, TJ Maxx, Ikea and Lowe’s are responding by shutting down and giving workers time to spend with their families before the Black Friday rush.

Black Friday shoppers in New York
Black Friday shoppers in New York.
CREDIT: Getty Images.

Still, declining foot traffic numbers do not necessarily indicate a decrease in purchases — the NRF expects the country’s federal retail sales to go up approximately 4 percent to $682 billion in 2017, from $655 billion last year. Last Thanksgiving weekend, over 154 million people spent an average of $289. 19 — and 44 percent of these people spent that money online.

Each year, the number of shoppers who prefer to spend Black Friday shopping online continues to rise, with a 25 percent increase in the number of computer and mobile purchases between 2016 and 2015.

People are not planning to give up shopping for deals anytime soon — now they just choose to do so from home.

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