Thanksgiving is the undisputed king of holiday over-consumption. It ranks at the top of all shopping days. Consumer spending during this period is unparalleled as millions of bargain-hungry Americans flock to retail outlets.
ShopperTrak, expects sales to rise 3.8 percent this holiday season while the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts holiday sales growth of 4.1 percent in 2014. Americans are expected to spend at least $617 billion dollars this holiday season.
Each year the holiday retail spending frenzy is starting earlier and ending later. Traditionally, holiday shopping started the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), but there has been a marked increase in shopping on Thanksgiving day. Retail federation numbers show a consistent trend of increasing year over year shopping on Thanksgiving Day (aka Gray Thursday). In 2009 there was a 3 percent increase, in 2010 there was a 9 percent increase and in 2011 there was a 24 percent increase.
Some retailers like Target are now previewing holiday promotions days before Thanksgiving. Others like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Best Buy and J.C. Penney are opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day than in previous years.
Retailers like Walmart are stretching the holiday shopping season from before Thanksgiving right into the month of December. Many are advertising what is being called Super Saturday which takes place on the weekend before Christmas.
Consumers are not the only ones that will spend big this holiday season. To get them into their stores retailers spent $4.8 billion on measured advertising between Oct. 25, 2013 and Jan. 5, 2014. According to Kantar Media, that accounts for almost one quarter (more than 22 percent) of their annual media spend.