Thanksgiving weekend sees 44% more online-only shoppers: NRF

FILE PHOTO: An Amazon worker delivers packages
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(Reuters) - The number of online-only shoppers jumped 44% during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the United States to 95.7 million, the National Retail Federation said on Tuesday, even as the overall number of shoppers dropped.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in online demand as people avoid going out to shop. To meet the rush, retail chains have been investing heavily in e-commerce and delivery services, such as curbside pickup.

Still the NRF's survey, conducted by research firm Prosper Insights & Analytics, showed only 186.4 million people made purchases between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, down from 189.6 million last year.

The number of in-store shoppers more than halved from a year earlier on Thanksgiving Day, while that on Black Friday dropped by 37%, the NRF said. It added people spent less on holiday-related purchases such as gifts or decorations over the five-day period.

Adobe Digital Insights, meanwhile, cut its estimates for U.S. online holiday sales to $184 billion, implying a 30% increase compared to its previous forecast of a 33% jump.

However, NRF stuck to its overall holiday season sales forecast of a 3.6% to 5.2% jump from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)