With Thanksgiving just days away, the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, predicts that 135.8 million people will shop for holiday gifts this weekend in store or online. As for total spending, the NRF predicts a 3.7% increase this year, for a total of $630.5 billion.
Another 183.8 million people are planning to shop online on “Cyber Monday,” a term that was coined in the pre-mobile days of 2005, when online shoppers made their purchases at work.
Some buyers have already gotten a jump start on holiday shopping. NRF reports that 57% of those surveyed began buying gifts in early November, up from 54% in 2014 and 49% in 2008.
Gift cards remain the most requested gift, but NRF reports that average spending for gift cards will drop for the first time in six years, from $172.74 in 2014 to $153.08. “Retailers’ early promotions and exclusive offerings have made it easier for consumers to find everything they need without having to consider raiding the gift card rack,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.