According to the latest International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Thanksgiving Weekend Intentions survey, consumers will spend $130 billion during the upcoming holiday shopping weekend, a 4 percent increase from last year’s spending expectations.

While consumers anticipate inflation and rising prices to impact their holiday shopping patterns, they remain resilient in their spending and plan to adjust their shopping during Thanksgiving weekend to account for the economic climate.

Other findings found from the survey include:

  • 90 percent of consumers will shop from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, with two in five expecting to spend more on merchandise than last year;
  • 7-in-10 plan to use promotions for everyday essentials;
  • 71 percent plan to research prices before purchasing to get the best deals;
  • Nearly 50 percent expect to rely on social media and apps more than in previous years for the best discounts;
  • 90 percent plan to go to a physical store to buy or pick up an online purchase, while 84 percent plan to spend online only;
  • Among physical stores, 8-in-10 plan to visit a retail marketplace during Thanksgiving weekend.

“Shoppers continue to remain optimistic about the upcoming holiday shopping weekend despite inflation,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “While they expect to encounter higher prices this holiday season, they’re turning to smart and savvy shopping techniques to make sure they’re getting the best deals on the things they buy to maximize what they have to spend. We anticipate increased consumer spending and a strong shopping season for retailers during Thanksgiving weekend.”

The data from the survey suggest that consumers expect to shop (60 percent) and dine (47 percent), but this year, more consumers also plan to attend holiday-themed events, increasing from 21 percent in 2022 to 29 percent in 2023.

Debit cards (65 percent) remain the top payment method during this holiday shopping weekend, followed by credit cards (49 percent) and cash (45 percent). Only 13 percent of shoppers plan to use the buy now/pay later option for purchases.

While 64 percent of consumers said price and value are a key factor when choosing where to shop during Thanksgiving weekend, convenience is important. Three in five respondents said they would shop in stores or use click-and-collect more to avoid shipping delays, and 56 percent plan to shop online and pick up in-store, an increase from 48 percent in 2022.

“Deals and promotions are top-of-mind for consumers this holiday shopping weekend, but retailers can’t forget that offering a positive customer experience is also vital,” noted McGee. “In deciding where to shop, additional key factors for consumers beyond pricing and promotions include in-stock products, quick pickup and shipping options, and easy returns or exchanges. Ensuring that shoppers have an enjoyable and convenient experience in stores and online while shopping during the holidays can help build trust through the holiday season and beyond.”

ICSC said that retailers can expect most shopping to occur during Thanksgiving weekend’s Black Friday, with 80 percent of consumers planning to shop on this day, and Cyber Monday, with 81 percent planning to shop on this day.

The 2023 ICSC Thanksgiving Weekend Intentions survey was conducted online from November 10-12, 2023. The survey represents a demographically representative sample of 1,006 respondents.

Photo courtesy Mall of America