Retailers Report Robust Holiday Spending Over the Thanksgiving Weekend

Earlier today, we learned that consumer confidence was at its highest point since December 2000, with Americans more upbeat in their economic outlook and about job prospects. Of course, an optimistic consumer is more likely to open their pocketbooks, helping to boost manufacturing activity and the overall economy.

Indeed, the most recent data on retail sales and personal spending suggested that Americans were buying more, with solid year-over-year growth in both reports. We get new personal consumption expenditures data on Thursday for October, with November retail sales figures out on December 14.

Even before those data come out, there have been several releases reporting healthy increases in holiday spending over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The National Retail Federation (NRF) said that more than 174 million Americans shopped over the holiday weekend, spending $335.47 on average per person over the five-day weekend. Millennials spent even more, averaging $419.52 per person. More importantly for the sector, retailers benefited from technology.

More than 64 million Americans shopped both in-store and online, with another 58 million spending their dollars online only. Unfortunately, NRF changed its methodology, making historical comparisons impossible.

Other sources, though, indicate that holiday spending accelerated strongly from previous years. For instance, Adobe Analytics reported that Americans spent $50 billion from November 1 to 27 online, up 16.8 percent over the previous year, with total spending for the holidays expected to exceed $100 billion. Cyber Monday sales alone accounted for $6.59 billion, a new all-time high.

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray is chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Director of the Center for Manufacturing Research for The Manufacturing Institute, where he serves as the NAM’s economic forecaster and spokesperson on economic issues. He frequently comments on current economic conditions for manufacturers through professional presentations and media interviews. He has appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business and Fox News, among other news outlets.
Chad Moutray

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