Thanksgiving Week Sales More Than Doubled the Prior Week’s Sales, But, So Far, Holiday 2016 is Still Falling Short, Reports NPD

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According to The NPD Group’s weekly point-of-sale results for key general merchandise categories, dollar sales in the fourth week of the 2016 holiday shopping season, Thanksgiving Week, more than doubled that of the prior week. While this peak week closely followed the trend seen in 2015, sales were 1 percent lower than Thanksgiving Week 2015.

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"The challenge facing retailers now is to make the new, more spread-out holiday shopping season work to their advantage," said NPD’s Chief Industry Analyst, Marshal Cohen.

Thanksgiving Week takes its rightful place as the true start of the holiday shopping season. According to The NPD Group’s weekly point-of-sale results for key general merchandise categories, dollar sales in the fourth week of the 2016 holiday shopping season, which included Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, more than doubled that of the prior week. While the peak week closely followed the trend seen in 2015, sales were 1 percent lower than Thanksgiving Week 2015. Cumulatively, dollar sales in the first four weeks of the 2016 holiday shopping season fell 3 percent behind the first four weeks of the 2015 holiday season.

Week Ending November 26, 2016*
Overall Performance

  • Dollar sales in the fourth week of November 2016 were 1 percent lower than the fourth week of November 2015.
  • Toys and Prestige Fragrances each beat their week 4 2015 dollar sales results by 3 percent – the only industries to outperform last year for the week and cumulatively over the first four weeks of the season.
  • Toys more than doubled their sales from the prior week.

Top Performing Categories

  • PCs (Notebooks)
  • Home Automation
  • Sports Toys
  • Games/Puzzles
  • Streaming Audio Speakers

Note: Instant Print Cameras also had noteworthy growth

“Retailers of all types set out to lure consumers with an increase in promotions, and it worked…for a few categories, but not for everything. Less conventional holiday winners beat out anticipated headliners, like last year’s wearable fitness tracker success story. But, big TVs are also making their mark on the 2016 holiday season, and a handful of other categories are gaining momentum,” said NPD’s Chief Industry Analyst, Marshal Cohen. “While the pace picked up over Thanksgiving Week, overall the season is still lagging a bit and what follows is the post-Black Friday lull. The challenge facing retailers now is to make the new, more spread-out holiday shopping season work to their advantage, and keep the hottest items in stock as consumers shop with the expectation of continued deals galore.”

Coming Next Week: Holiday Shopping Bag Results for Cyber Monday Week – see if continued promotions tempered the post-Black Friday lull!

  • Information is collected from a panel of leading retailers that provide weekly point-of-sale data covering in-store and online sales of Apparel, Toys, Technology, Athletic Footwear, and Prestige Fragrances.

Note: Shifts may occur from week to week in reporting results, due to retailer reporting updates.

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Janine Marshall
The NPD Group
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