A record number of Americans are expected to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend despite the cost of a holiday dinner being up 20% from last year due to soaring inflation.
An estimated 166.3 million people are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
If the figure is realized, it would be eight million more than last year and surpass the 165.3 million shoppers recorded in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic and high inflation that has started to take effect on US consumers in 2021.
"While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.
Almost 33 million people in the US are estimated to shop Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, while more than 114 million are expected to hit the stores or shop online on Black Friday, according to the survey.
More than 60 million shoppers are anticipated for Small Business Saturday, which supports local businesses, followed by 31 million on Sunday.
Almost 64 million are forecast to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals, the second-biggest shopping day and the biggest day for e-commerce.
"Black Friday continues to be the most popular day to shop, with 69% planning to shop then, followed by 38% on Cyber Monday," said the survey that was conducted Nov. 1 - 8 that included 7,719 consumers.
NRF estimates sales during the holiday season, from November until the end of December, will grow between 6% and 8% from last year to reach between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.
Dinner cost up 20%
US annual consumer inflation came in at 7.7% in October, easing from the 8.2% annual gain in September. Annual US producer inflation rose 8% in October, slowing down from September's 8.4% gain year-on-year.
Before the holiday season last year, Americans had faced an annual increase of 6.2% in consumer price index in October 2021.
The volume of sales is expected to increase from last year during this holiday season despite inflation hovering at its highest in nearly four decades.
The same goes for Thanksgiving Day when the cost of a traditional dinner, which typically includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, veggies and pumpkin pie, is up 20% year-on-year.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (ABFB) said a feast for 10 people is estimated to cost $64.05 on average -- a $10.74 increase from last year’s average of $53.31.
The cost of a 16-pound (7.26-kilogram) turkey stood at $28.96, which is up 21% from last year.
"General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner," AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan said in a statement. "Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine."
He listed other contributing factors to the higher cost, including smaller flocks, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights.
Cryan said farmers are working hard to meet growing food demand, although they face rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other farming requirements.
"We should not take our food supply for granted," AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in the statement. "Supporting sustainable productive agriculture in the US and globally is imperative."