The number of shoppers in the US during Thanksgiving weekend fell 3.5% from the previous year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) data.
A total of 179.8 million consumers made in-store and online purchases during the weekend, the trade association said in a statement late Tuesday.
Although the figure is in line with the average of the last four years, it is a decline from 186.4 million shoppers last year.
The decline came as consumers have started shopping earlier this year due to supply-chain bottlenecks, which forced retailers to stockpile shelves before the holiday season began.
"Retailers have adapted and enticed customers with a number of incentives throughout November," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the statement.
"Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season," he added.
Almost half, 49%, of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before Thanksgiving this year, according to the NRF.
Despite the pandemic and comfort of e-commerce, the number of people who shopped in stores increased 13.6% this year, it noted.
"Retailers saw an increase in foot traffic, with approximately 104.9 million shoppers visiting stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020. The overall number of online shoppers decreased to a total of 127.8 million from 145.4 million last year," according to the statement.
Black Friday remained the most popular day for in-store shopping with 66.5 million shoppers.
It was followed the next day by 51 million shoppers on Small Business Saturday, which supports local businesses, as 71% of consumers said they were shopping specifically for Small Business Saturday, said NRF.
Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday in e-commerce, similar to recent years, as 88 million shoppers went online on the day after Thanksgiving, compared with 77 million the following Monday, it added.
American shoppers on Thanksgiving weekend spent an average of $301.27, which was down slightly from $311.75 last year, data showed.
The NRF estimates sales for the holiday season, which runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, will grow between 8.5% to 10.5% in 2020 to reach $843.4 billion to $859 billion this year.
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